Ukraine's leader speaks to 'fake' Kyrgyz president

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  • Almazbek Atambayev
    President of Kyrgyzstan, 2011-2017

Kiev (AFP) - Ukrainian president spoke to what he thought was his Kyrgyz counterpart by phone this week -- only to discover that the person on the other end was someone else entirely.

Details of the exchange between Petro Poroshenko and a man thought at the time to be Kyrgyzstan's Almazbek Atambayev appeared on the Ukrainian president's official website on Wednesday.

But any mention of the encounter had vanished by Thursday as it became clear that the person to whom Poroshenko spoke was not Atambayev at all.

The Central Asian republic was the first to break the bad news to Kiev.

"It is possible somebody duped the Ukrainian leader," a representative of Atambayev's press service told AFP on Thursday.

Atambayev's office declined to speculate about who might have imitated the president.

But Russian media suggested that the confusion could have been the work of a Moscow prankster named Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov who has staged similar stunts in the past.

It was unclear who placed the call.

Red-faced Ukraine blamed the confusion on a conspiracy aimed at sinking its efforts to push a measure through the United Nations condemning Russia's 2014 annexation of its Crimea peninsula.

Ukrainian foreign ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa said her office was now investigating the "planned provocation".

"We are looking into all the details of what happened," Betsa told AFP.

"But it is already clear that these actions were aimed at undermining an initiative being forwarded by Ukraine at the United Nations concerning Crimea."

Russian officials have yet to comment on the embarrassment of their arch rival.

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