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Boris Johnson targeted by Russia prank caller

Boris Johnson targeted by Russia prank caller

Boris Johnson has been targeted by a Russian prank caller pretending to be the new prime minister of Armenia.In a recording posted online, the UK foreign secretary congratulates the caller on his election and goes on to discuss UK-Russia relations, the Salisbury poisoning and Syria.He also expresses surprise and interest when the caller claims President Putin is "influencing" Jeremy Corbyn.The Foreign Office said Mr Johnson realised the call was a hoax.It added: "We checked it out and knew immediately it was a prank call. The use of chemical weapons in Salisbury and Syria, and recent events in Armenia are serious matters.
"These childish actions show the lack of seriousness of the caller and those behind him."
'Russian knowledge'
The 18-minute recording was posted on YouTube by pro-Kremlin British journalist Graham Phillips, BBC Monitoring reports.It was credited to two prominent Russian political pranksters - Vladimir "Vovan" Kuznetsov and Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov, who are in favour with the official Russian media.
Skip Twitter post by @bbclaurak
Apparently hoaxers talked to Alan Duncan first, and his private office gave them a number for the Foreign Sec on his recommendation - awkward— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 24, 2018
Report
End of Twitter post by @bbclaurak
It is not clear if the footage has been edited.After congratulating the caller, Mr Johnson talks of developing UK-Armenia trade and investment links. Asked about Russia, and the Salisbury poisoning, he says he is "almost 100% sure" that Mr Putin was behind the attack and that it is important to avoid a "new cold war".He advises the caller to show "determination and firmness" when dealing with Mr Putin.When the man claims the Russian president talked of his "influence" over the Labour leader and that his goddaughter "met with people of Mr Corbyn", Mr Johnson asks for more information."I am sure our intelligence will be listening on this line and they will draw the relevant conclusions," he says.During the conversation, the caller also describes what he says is a fake video of the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, to which Mr Johnson said it seemed to be "very clear" that the Syrian regime was behind a chlorine attack in Douma, "almost certainly with Russian knowledge".
Boris Johnson
Russia
Vladimir Putin
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