European mayors duped into calls with fake Kyiv mayor

Jun 24, 2022, 8:13 PM | Updated: Jun 25, 2022, 8:54 am
FILE -- Berlin's mayor Franziska Giffey speaks during a press conference on the opening of the 'Wel...

FILE -- Berlin's mayor Franziska Giffey speaks during a press conference on the opening of the 'Welcome Hall State of Berlin' for refugees from the Ukraine in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, warned Saturday of fake calls by an anonymous person posing as himself, after several European mayors, as Giffey, were duped into wrongly believing they were holding video call with the real Klitschko. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

BERLIN (AP) — The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv warned Saturday that an imposter is posing as him and communicating with other officials, including three European mayors who were duped into believing they were having a video call with the real Vitali Klitschko.

“Several mayors in Europe have been contacted by a fake mayor of Kyiv who has been saying absurd things,” Klitschko told German daily newspaper Bild. “This is criminal energy. It must be urgently investigated who is behind it.”

The office of Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey tweeted Friday night that she cut short a call with the reputed Kyiv mayor after his comments and questions made her suspicious. “The course of the conversation and the setting of topics” made Giffey wary, her office said without elaborating.

The office published a photo that showed both the German capital’s mayor and the fake Klitschko on a big screen. It said that initially, “there was no evidence that the video conference was not conducted with a real person. To all appearances, it is deep fake.”

Police were investigating the incident, Giffey’s office said.

Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida also interrupted a video call with someone claiming to be Klitschko on Friday. The mayor of Spain’s capital suspected he wasn’t speaking with his Kyiv counterpart and has filed a complaint with police.

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig did not end his call with the imposter earlier this week because he didn’t notice any suspicious behavior, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported.

“Since no tricky topics were discussed in the conversation, this is certainly annoying in the specific occasion but not a big problem,” Ludwig said.

It was not clear who was behind the calls or what means were used to try to make the mayors think they were communicating with Klitschko.

On Saturday, Berlin’s mayor said her encounter with the fraudster means that “in the future we will have to be even more scrutinizing, even more suspicious.”

She called the use of a phony Klitschko “a means of modern warfare,” referring to Russia’s four-month war on Ukraine.

Kyiv’s actual mayor also made a link to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Friends! The enemy does not let up and is waging war on all fronts – in particular by disinformation, by discrediting Ukrainian politicians,” Klitschko said in a post on the Telegram messaging app. “In order to quarrel with European partners, so that Ukraine would not be helped.”

In his remarks to Bild, he warned other European officials to be careful if they are contacted by someone claiming to represent his office. “Please be careful in the future how appointments are arranged by me. Official conversations only come through official channels,” he said.

___

Ashifa Kassam contributed reporting from Madrid.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were found ...
Rebecca Boone, Associated Press

Victims’ families urge love, kindness as Idaho campus mourns

As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future.
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Last of Mexico’s World War II veterans dies at age 98

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The last veteran of Mexico’s relatively small contingent of World War II veterans has died, Mexico’s Defense Department announced Thursday. The department said former Sgt. Horacio Castilleja Albarrán was 98 when he died Wednesday. A cause of death was not provided. Castilleja Albarrán was one of about 300 Mexican soldiers and […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Dylan Brandt speaks at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Ark....
Associated Press

Landmark trial on Arkansas trans youth medical ban wraps up

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The nation’s first trial on a ban on gender-confirming care for children ended Thursday, as Arkansas wrapped up its case defending the prohibition with testimony from an endocrinologist opposed to such treatments for minors. U.S. District Judge Jay Moody, who is considering whether to strike down the law after hearing […]
16 hours ago
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference with President Joe Biden in the Ea...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: US-European differences on climate law persist

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday tried to allay concerns raised by French President Emmanuel Macron about a clean energy law that benefits electric vehicles and other products made in North America. But the U.S. and Europe remain divided over the landmark law. Hours before hosting Macron at a state dinner. Biden acknowledged […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Airbnb urged to require carbon monoxide devices after 3 die

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Family members of three tourists who died while staying at an Airbnb in Mexico City, apparently of carbon monoxide poisoning, urged the short-term rental company Thursday to require detectors in properties it lists to prevent future tragedies. “Our main goal is to try to get the word out to those planning […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall is seen on Dec. 5, 2014, in Topeka, Kan. Stegall ...
Associated Press

Kansas justice chides state law school for ‘closed’ climate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A member of Kansas’ highest court has resigned in protest from a part-time teaching job at a state law school following what he says was an unsuccessful attempt by the university to pressure students into canceling an event featuring a leader of a group that opposes LGBTQ rights. State Supreme Court […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
European mayors duped into calls with fake Kyiv mayor