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Russian pranksters claim they tricked France's Macron in fake call with Ukraine's new President

Russian pranksters claim they tricked France's Macron in fake call with Ukraine's new President
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Russian pranksters posing as Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy claim to have tricked French President Emmanuel Macron into a hoax phone call after Sunday's Ukrainian presidential vote.

In audio from a 15-minute phone call posted on YouTube on Wednesday, Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus get through to a man purported to be Macron by pretending to be Zelenskiy.

The exact timing of the call was unclear.

Reached by Euronews, the French presidency was not immediately available to comment. Earlier, a French official told Reuters it would neither confirm nor deny the audio's authenticity.

Vovan and Lexus are known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with prank phone calls and have in the past tricked British singer Elton John and former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, among many others.

One of the pranksters, impersonating Zelenskiy, joked that his winning 73 per cent of the vote in the Ukrainian election was reminiscent of Russian President Vladimir Putin's own strong election results.

In the recording, a voice that sounds like Macron can be heard joking that Ukraine was not like Russia in at least one respect. "You haven't yet put all opponents in jail."

Later in the conversation, the pranksters told Macron that outgoing President Petro Poroshenko wasn't "the right person" to implement the Minsk agreements to halt the war in eastern Ukraine. "I agree," Macron said, adding: "I am counting on your commitment for this purpose."

Zelenskiy met with Macron earlier this month in Paris ahead of the run-off against Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

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