(Stephanie Burnett broke this news story, and it was featured in news outlets, including Politico.)
A Russian duo described as pranksters have duped European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini into believing they were speaking to the Armenian prime minister, Euronews has learned, prompting concerns about security breaches.
The two separate calls, which lasted about 10 minutes and 12 minutes respectively, occurred in May shortly after Nikol Pashinyan was sworn in as Armenia’s new prime minister.
On the other end of the line, however, were Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov.
What did Juncker and Mogherini say?
Conversation with Juncker
The call with Juncker appears to have been taken on May 9, as he refers to US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear the day before — a move the EU leader called a “mistake” on the phone.
“This is a major concern for us and for me personally because I do think that this is a major mistake, the one that Trump had made yesterday night,” said Juncker.
“We as Europeans, we are sticking to the Iran deal. France, Germany, Britain, others, including the European Union itself, we will stick to that agreement and we don’t want to destabilise the region. And as Iran is your neighbour, you have the highest interest in having the whole region being stabilised so we are working in that direction.”
Trump was referred to again when Stolyarov, pretending to be Pashinyan, said Armenia was receiving pressure from the US and asked for the EU to mediate. Juncker responded: “We have to explain again and again the world to Mr Trump, he doesn’t understand what it’s about. We will make sure that he has a better understanding of what is happening in Armenia.”
When Stolyarov said his political party had experienced “resistance from Russia”, Juncker urged him to go forward and maintain good ties with Putin’s government.
“And with Russia, we are not asking to break your relations with Russia. It’s important that you will have a meeting with Vladimir Putin, I think on the 14th of May or something like that, that’s good. It’s good. He’s a personal friend of mine so I can talk with him whenever it’s needed,” Juncker said.
The two also talked about Juncker’s love for Armenian music, and Stolyarov said a concert was being played by rock band System of a Down, whose lead singer is Armenian-American, as the band’s recorded track is heard in the background.
Stolyarov ended the conversation by saying that “team Kardashian” would like to work in the ministry of foreign affairs.
“Oh yeah, that’s good,” said Juncker.
Continue reading the full story on Euronews.