A pair of Russian pranksters, posing as an Ukrainian ambassador and president of Ukraine, managed to get Gov. Michael Dunleavy on the phone last winter and pranked him. The event occurred in February but has made the rounds again after being posted on YouTube by a Russian media outlet.
During the conversation, the pranksters, who posed as an ambassador and President of Ukraine Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko, warned Dunleavy of the “Russian threat” to reclaim Alaska, and explained that Moscow asserts it had only rented Alaska to the U.S. and now wants its land back, and that a referendum was going to be on an upcoming ballot.
“All I can say on behalf of Alaskans – we are Americans, and we have no desire to become part of Russia,” Dunleavy responded.
The recorded conversation was posted this weekend by RT.com, a Russian news channel. The clip had started recirculating on Friday, Alaska Day, on YouTube, where it’s been seen by more than 17,000 people in two days:
Dunleavy isn’t the first politician to fall for the pranksters, but perhaps the latest. Russian pranksters Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, otherwise known as Lexus and Vovan, had previously pranked national and international officials, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff, former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, then-UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams.
The governor’s voice seems to indicate that he catches on halfway through the call and is trying to gracefully extract himself from it, but no one in the Administration would talk about the caper, which is masterfully executed by the pranksters.