Ukraine warns of war profiteers after UK DM's fake call from 'Ukrainian PM'

Shortly after Wallace's announcement, Ukraine's ministry of defence released a statement warning foreign governments to be wary of hoaxes by those who "seek to profit off human suffering."

 British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace gives a statement on Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the House of Commons, in London, Britain, March 9, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/JESSICA TAYLOR)
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace gives a statement on Ukraine, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the House of Commons, in London, Britain, March 9, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JESSICA TAYLOR)

British defense minister Ben Wallace said an imposter claiming to be the Ukrainian prime minister contacted him on Thursday and asked several "misleading questions." Shortly after, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry released a statement warning about war profiteers posing as Ukrainian officials.

"Today an attempt was made by an imposter claiming to be Ukrainian PM to speak with me. He posed several misleading questions and after becoming suspicious I terminated the call," Wallace said on Twitter.

"No amount of Russian disinformation, distortion and dirty tricks can distract from Russia’s human rights abuses and illegal invasion of Ukraine. A desperate attempt."

A defense source said Wallace had ordered an immediate inquiry into how the incident was allowed to happen.

 Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (credit: FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/POOL VIA REUTERS) Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (credit: FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Shortly after Wallace's announcement, Ukraine's Defense Ministry released a statement in both Ukrainian and English warning against the danger of "those who seek to profit from human suffering" by posing as Ukrainian officials. 

"Such characters introduce themselves as 'advisors', 'assistants,' 'heads of departments,' and even present fake 'documents' to prove their 'official positions,'" Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov's Facebook statement continued. 

"As the Minister, I responsibly declare: All such persons are scum, looters and traitors who have nothing to do with the defense of Ukraine but work for their own and/or the enemy’s pockets."

He urged governments worldwide to be vigilant and ensure that the people they are speaking to are really who they claim to be and to report any imposters to the authorities.

"I officially confirm that all military aid, down to the last bullet and penny, is and will continue to be used as intended – for the defense and protection of Ukraine from the Russian occupiers," he concluded, adding that "the only right place for the looters is behind bars."

Wallace is not the first British minister to fall foul of a hoax call.

In May 2018 Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was foreign minister at the time, talked about international relations and rude poetry with a hoax caller who pretended to be the Armenian prime minister.