Ukraine blames Russian security service for prank call to president
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Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven at the Swedish Government headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden November 14, 2016. TT NEWS AGENCY/Claudio Bresciani/via Reuters
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KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine on Thursday blamed the Russian state security service for orchestrating a prank call to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko from someone pretending to be the president of Kyrgyzstan.
Earlier in November, Poroshenko's office announced a conversation with Kyrgyz leader Almazbek Atambayev, only for the latter to issue a statement saying the call had not taken place.
A recording of the call was subsequently published online, but Kiev said parts where Poroshenko was critical of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin were cut.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatist rebels in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.
"Now I understand why the so-called pranksters waited for so long. They were doctoring the conversation and had to wait even longer to get approval from their supervisors in the Kremlin and the FSB," said Svyatoslav Tsegolko, Poroshenko's spokesman.
"The FSB made a fabricated product specifically for the Russian public," he said in a statement, referring to Russia's security service.
Tsegolko said officials at Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs must have assisted the pranksters.
Kyrgyzstan's foreign ministry could not be reached for comment. Russia did not immediately comment on Ukraine's allegations.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Matthias Williams; Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko in BISHKEK; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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