Giorgia Meloni hit by Russian pranksters in 13-minute stunt
Errore mio! Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni hit by Russian pranksters in 13-minute stunt to say West is ‘fatigued with Ukraine war’
- The comedy duo similarly pranked Polish President in November last year
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni discussed the conflict in Ukraine and a lack of support for Italy in dealing with migration in a phone call with Russian pranksters.
A 13-minute call dating back to September was shared online on Wednesday by notorious Russians Vovan and Lexus, who have pranked others leaders in the past.
Meloni’s office said in a statement it regretted she had been deceived by an imposter posing as the head of the African Union Commission.
It said the call took place on Sept. 18 in the run-up to meetings with African leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni leaves at the end of a EU leaders Summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 26, 2023
Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov (L) and Alexei Stolyarov, also known as Vovan and Lexus, attend the presentation of their new book in Moscow, Russia September 14, 2017
Asked about Russia’s war in Ukraine, Meloni, speaking in English, told the pranksters: ‘I see that there is a lot of fatigue, I have to say the truth, from all the sides. We (are) near the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out.’
‘The problem is to find a way out which can be acceptable for both without destroying the international law,’ she added.
Addressing Italy’s position as a first port of call for many migrants crossing the Mediterranean, Meloni lamented that international partners were not doing enough to help.
‘They do all agree that only Italy has to solve this problem alone. It’s a very stupid way of thinking.’
Prankster Lexus, or Alexei Stolyarov, said Meloni was at least someone who was willing to share her real opinions.
‘Unfortunately, unlike her, many European politicians behave like some kind of programmed robot and express points of view that are only voiced in their own circles,’ he told Reuters.
He did the talking while Vovan also listened in on the call with Meloni, he explained.
Meloni, Italian prime minister for a year, split with her TV presenter partner last month after off-air video excerpts from his programme showed him using foul language and appearing to make advances to a female colleague.
In November last year, the comedy duo duped the Polish leader into thinking he was having a secure phone call with the French president following a missile explosion in Poland.
Mr Duda had been undertaking several calls with world leaders after the explosion, including his phone call with the fake President Macron.
Mr Duda said he recognised from the unusual conduct of the phone call that the person on the other end of the line was not his French counterpart.
The office said that appropriate services are checking how the pranksters could have reached Duda – for the second time. In 2020 they talked to him posing as U.N. secretary-general.
Vladimir Kuznetsov and Aleksei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, attend a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia June 16, 2022
Duda’s office said it was one of many international calls that the president received at a tense time, just after a missile hit in eastern Poland, close to the border with Ukraine, killing two men
Mr Duda’s office confirmed the prank call in a series of Tweets
The chief of the U.S. central bank was also been by the duo in April as they posed as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
An online video showed Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov discussing the global economy with Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.
The video was broadcast on state television in Russia and the two self-styled comics are known to be supporters of Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin.
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