According to the Russian trolls Wowan and Lexus, who specialize in disinformation, former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) fell for a staged phone call about the Ukraine conflict. The interviewers close to the Kremlin have now published excerpts from it. Merkel’s office in Berlin confirmed to the German Press Agency that there was a telephone conversation. “I can confirm a phone call with a caller who posed as former (Ukrainian) President Petro Poroshenko,” a spokeswoman for Merkel told dpa.

The Russians with the stage names Wowan and Lexus have repeatedly fooled celebrities by posing as false names. In the excerpts published, Merkel says nothing sensational or new, but advocates unity in the West in the conflict with Russia. She also emphasizes that the content of the call is not for the public.

“Otherwise, my plea is that we trust our governments. Only they make politics,” said the CDU politician. In doing so, she also reminded the supposed Poroshenko that he had lost the 2019 election to the current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “If you’re not elected, you have to hold back as much as possible in difficult times like this.”

“My Russian is even worse than in 2014”

Merkel then said that she wished her interlocutor “all the best from the bottom of my heart”. In the end, it becomes clear that Merkel is uncomfortable with certain questions – about her pension, for example, which she does not answer.

When asked if she couldn’t speak Russian as well, she replied: “My Russian is even worse than it was in 2014.” Back then, Merkel had signed the Minsk agreements for a settlement of the conflict in Ukraine with Poroshenko, French President François Hollande and Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.

“The phone call took place on January 12, 2023, supported by a German-Ukrainian translation by the Foreign Office’s language service,” Merkel’s office said in a statement. “The former Chancellor then informed the Federal Foreign Office about the impression she had gained from the caller during the call.” During her tenure, Merkel often dealt with Poroshenko. The 57-year-old was in office from 2014 to 2019.