Nikki Haley seemingly tricked by Russian pranksters into commenting on fictional country 'Binomo'

The US Ambassador to the UN spent 22 minutes talking to someone she thought was the Polish Prime Minister

Caroline Mortimer
Friday 29 December 2017 16:30
US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley pranked by Russian comedians in discussion of fake island 'Binomo'

A pair of Russian comedians appear to have successfully tricked the US’ Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, into commenting on a fictional Asian country.

The two comedians Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, posted a 22 minute audio clip of their conversation with the ambassador where they get her to comment on the situation in Binomo – a fictional country in the South China Sea.

Posing as the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, they spoke to Ms Haley in the days after Poland was one of 35 countries to abstain on a UN vote to reject Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void”.

The UN General Assembly voted 128-9, excluding the abstentions, in favour of the motion.

She said: “Let me start with very much thanking you for the support we received on the vote today. We will never forget it”.

Previous Mr Trump suggested he would cut off financial aid to those who voted for the motion.

The pranksters then moved the discussion to the situation in Binomo.

Mr Stolyarov, who was posing as Mr Morawiecki, said: “You know Binomo” to which Ms Haley replied “yes, yes”.

“They had elections and we suppose Russia had its intervention”, he continued.

Ms Haley then replied: “Yes, of course they did, absolutely.

“We’ve been watching that very closely, and I think we will continue to watch that as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea.”

He then asked her what the US was planning to do about the island to which Ms Haley responded that she needed to “find out exactly what our stance is on that” and get back to them.

The comedians also questioned her about Ukraine, with whom Russia has been engaging in a proxy war since 2014, and expressed support for the former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was arrested in Kiev earlier this month.

Mr Saakashvili has been accused of taking money from a Russia-based oligarch to destabilise the political situation in Ukraine but has dismissed the allegations as "lies".

Poland and Ukraine have traditionally been allies but relations have soured in recent months due in part to a spat over the wartime killing of Poles in Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Ms Haley, John Degory, told The Post and Courier he would not confirm or deny the authenticity of the video. "We have nothing to share on that at this time," he said.

The Russian pranksters are known for impersonating Eastern European officials to mock and undermine Western leaders.

Earlier this year, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was tricked into thinking he was talking to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman where he reportedly discussed a new fuel made from manure and alcohol.

A spokeswoman for the department told Bloomberg at the time: “These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine.”

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