Kremlin Denies Role In Taoiseach Varadkar ‘Prank’ Call

Irish PM Duped By prank Call

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Credit: Public Domain/Creative

Recently, Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was the victim of a prank call from two Russian imposters.

The Russian embassy vehemently denies any Kremlin involvement in a deceptive act targeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. In a statement, the Russian embassy in Dublin refuted claims of any official Russian participation in the incident, which took place earlier this year.

The event saw Mr Varadkar unwittingly partaking in a virtual meeting, believing he was conversing with African diplomats. However, the individuals on the other end were none other than pro-Kremlin ‘comedians’ Lexus and Vovan, as reported by Irish media

Virtual Impersonation

‘We have learned of this ‘prank’ from the news reports,’ said the Russian embassy. They emphasised the lack of evidence pointing to any Russian state involvement.

This incident adds to a series of similar deceptive calls made by the duo, which have targeted global figures like Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, as well as celebrities such as Elton John and Bernie Sanders.

The comedians gained access by posing as representatives of the African Union Commission. Mr Varadkar’s spokesperson revealed that the 13-minute clip circulating online, showing the Taoiseach discussing topics like the war in Ukraine and a United Ireland, was manipulated.

Raising Security And AI Concerns

Mr Varadkar himself noted his immediate suspicion during the call, giving ‘careful answers’ before terminating the conversation. He pointed out the use of artificial intelligence in doctoring the video, which ‘is not as it appears’.

In response, the Taoiseach’s office has revised protocols for video conferencing to address these new security challenges. ‘We have changed our procedures in relation to video calls,’ Mr Varadkar stated.

He highlighted the ease with which AI can now create convincing fake images and voices, necessitating stricter security measures and a potential shift back to in-person interactions for critical matters.

The incident is a reminder of the evolving challenges in the digital age, where seeing might no longer be believing.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.