False Kiev mayor cheats on EU mayors
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False Kiev mayor cheats on EU mayors

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, warned that an impostor is posing as him after three European mayors were tricked into believing they were video chatting with the real Vitali Klitschko.

“Several mayors in Europe have been approached by a fake mayor of Kyiv who said absurd things,” Klitschko told the German daily Bild on Saturday. “This is criminal energy. There is an urgent need to investigate who is behind it.”

The office of Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey tweeted Friday night that she had cut off a conversation with the acclaimed mayor of Kyiv after his comments and questions made her suspicious. “The course of the conversation and the setting of the topics” made Giffey wary, her office said without going into detail.

Fake Kyiv mayor dupes EU mayors | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT

The agency published a photo showing the mayor of the German capital and the fake Klitschko on a large screen. It said initially, “there was no evidence that the video conference was not held with a real person. It appears to be a fake.”

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

Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida also interrupted a video call with someone claiming to be Klitschko on Friday. The mayor of the Spanish capital suspected he was not speaking with his Kyiv counterpart and has filed a complaint with the police.

The mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, did not end his conversation with the impostor earlier this week because he had not noticed any suspicious behavior, Austria’s public broadcaster ORF reported.

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

It was unclear who was behind the calls or what means were used to trick the mayors into thinking they were communicating with Klitschko.

On Saturday, the mayor of Berlin said her meeting with the scammer means that “we will have to be even more critical, even more suspicious” in the future.

She called the use of a fake Klitschko “a tool for modern warfare,” referring to Russia’s four-month war against Ukraine.

Kyiv’s current mayor is also linked with the Russian war in Ukraine.

“Friends! The enemy does not give up and is waging war on all fronts – especially through disinformation, by discrediting Ukrainian politicians,” Klitschko said in a message on the Telegram messaging app. “To quarrel with European partners so that Ukraine would not be helped.”

In his comments to Bild, he warned other European officials to exercise caution if anyone claiming to represent his office approached him. “Please be careful with how appointments are arranged by me. Official conversations only come through official channels,” he said.