European mayors tricked by calls with fake mayor of Kyiv
The mayor of Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv warned on Saturday that an impostor was impersonating him and communicating with other officials, including three European mayors who were tricked into thinking they had a video call with the real one Vitali Klitschko.
“Several mayors in Europe have been contacted by a fake mayor of Kyiv who makes nonsense,” Klitschko told German daily Bild.
“This is criminal energy. There is an urgent need to investigate who is behind this. Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey’s office tweeted on Friday evening that she had interrupted a call with the reputable mayor of Kyiv after her comments and questions made her suspicious.
“The course of the conversation and the definition of the topics” made Giffey suspicious, her office said without giving further details.
The office published a photo showing both the mayor of the German capital and the fake Klitschko on the big screen.
He said that initially, “there was no evidence that the videoconference was not conducted with a real person. To all appearances, this is deeply false”.
Police were investigating the incident, Giffey’s office said.
On Friday, Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida also interrupted a video call with someone claiming to be Klitschko.
The mayor of the Spanish capital suspected he was not speaking with his counterpart in Kyiv and filed a complaint with the police.
Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig did not end his call with the impostor earlier this week because he did not notice any suspicious behavior, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported.
“As no sensitive topics were brought up in the conversation, it’s certainly boring on the specific occasion, but it’s not a big deal,” Ludwig said.
It was unclear who was behind the calls or what means were used to try to trick the mayors into thinking they were communicating with Klitschko.
On Saturday, the mayor of Berlin said her meeting with the fraudster meant that “in the future we will have to be even more scrutinizing, even more suspicious”.
She called the use of a fake Klitschko a “modern means of warfare”, referring to Russia’s four-month war against Ukraine.
The current mayor of Kyiv also made a connection with Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Friends! The enemy is not giving up and is waging war on all fronts – including through disinformation, discrediting Ukrainian politicians,’ Klitschko said in a message on the Telegram messaging app.
“In order to quarrel with European partners, so that Ukraine is not helped.” In his remarks to Bild, he warned other EU officials to be cautious if contacted by someone claiming to represent his office.
“Please pay attention in the future to how appointments are organized by me. Official conversations only go through official channels,” he said.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)