VLADIMIR Putin’s cyber unit orchestrated a series of hoax calls to ministers last week in a bid to embarrass Britain, No10 revealed.
Spooks have revealed Russian spies arranged the calls last week to Defence Sec Ben Wallace and Home Sec Priti Patel and are now braced for “doctored” clips of the pair to emerge.
Downing Street said Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries was also targeted by Russian spies – but did not take the call.
No10 said the hoax video calls last week were an attempt by Putin to distract from military problems in Ukraine.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “We are seeing a string of distraction stories and outright lies from the Kremlin, reflecting Putin’s desperation as he seeks to hide the scale of the conflict and Russia’s failings on the battlefield.”
Senior Government sources fear the Russians may attempt to doctor footage obtained in the calls in an attempt to embarrass the UK.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace publicly acknowledged he had been targeted shortly after his call on Thursday in an attempt to get ahead of any attempt by Moscow to circulate footage from it.
He also initiated a cross-Whitehall review to tighten up security procedures.