Newly reelected Polish President Andrzej Duda fell victim to a pair of Russian pranksters pretending to be the secretary-general of the United Nations, and admitted that Donald Trump hasn’t called to congratulate him on his election victory.
The jokesters on Tuesday released a recording of a phone conversation with the Polish president, who thought he was speaking to António Guterres. On Wednesday, Duda’s office confirmed that the recording was not a fake.
In the clip, posted on YouTube, Duda talks for more than 10 minutes about the coronavirus pandemic, the recent election and the country’s relationships with Russia and Ukraine. Duda said that Poland has the pandemic “under control,” and that it did not pose a risk to his election campaign. He also said that Trump “didn’t call but maybe he sent an official letter.” Duda met with the U.S. president days before the election, with Trump saying Poland is making “vigilant efforts to uphold the rule of law.”
The pranksters claimed to have talked to former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a longtime rival of Duda’s Law and Justice party who reacted angrily during the election campaign when Duda claimed LGBTQ “ideology” was worse than communism.
“I don’t [discriminate against] them, really,” Duda told the fake Guterres. “I have huge respect for every human being,” he said, adding that Tusk “doesn’t like me.”
On Wednesday morning, Tusk wrote on Twitter: “I do like you, Mr. President. Especially for your openness.”
The pranksters are Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, known as Lexus and Vovan. They have claimed a number of victims, including posing as then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in a call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They have also spoken with Elton John while pretending to be Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and said they held a phone conversation with Boris Johnson, at the time the U.K.’s foreign secretary, during which one of them pretended to be Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
In September 2019, Jean-Claude Juncker and Federica Mogherini — then the European Commission president and foreign policy chief, respectively — reportedly fell victim to the pair, again posing as Pashinyan.
Zosia Wanat contributed to this article.