noscript
Semafor LogoDiego Mendoza
newsEurope

Poland’s president was tricked by Russian comedians impersonating Emmanuel Macron after missile crash

Diego Mendoza is a Breaking News reporter. You can reach him at dmendoza@semafor.com. Sign up for Flagship, our daily newsletter that distills what’s happening in the world into a concise, insightful morning read.

Sign up for Semafor Flagship: A global, insightful daily briefing.

Title iconThe News

After a missile crashed into a Polish village on Nov. 15, Poland's president Andrzej Duda spoke to French president Emmanuel Macron over the phone. Except, he was talking to a Russian prankster impersonating Macron with a fake French accent, Duda's office said Tuesday.

Two Russian comedians, Vovan and Lexus, uploaded a recording of their prank online.

Title iconKnow More

During the phone call, one of the pranksters who speaks in English with an attempted French accent, asks Duda questions about the missile crash and what Poland's response will be if the missile is found to originate in Russia.

"Emmanuel, believe me, I am extra careful," Duda tells the caller. "I don't want to have war with Russia and believe me, I am extra careful, extra careful."

AD

In tweets Tuesday, Duda's office said the president ended the conversation after suspecting that "the unusual way the interlocutor conducted the conversation" might have been a "fraud attempt." Officials said they are investigating the matter.

It is the second time that Vovan and Lexus have managed to connect with Duda's office, raising security concerns. In 2020, the pranksters fooled Duda into thinking he was speaking with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The two comedians claim to have duped Macron himself by impersonating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2019. Their other victims include Elton John, JK Rowling, and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Title iconStep Back

Last week's missile mishap sparked an international crisis. Here's a quick recap:

  • The Associated Press first reported that two people were killed by a Russian missile in Poland near the Ukrainian border.
  • The Polish government said that the missile was likely Russian-made, but they could not determine its origin. Poland also considered invoking Article 4 of the NATO treaty. Russia denied any wrongdoing.
  • NATO allies -- including the U.S. -- later said there was evidence to suggest the missile was not launched from Russia.
  • One day after the incident, Poland and NATO announced the missile was "very likely" fired by Ukraine defending itself from Russia and that it accidentally crashed into Poland.
AD