The man looked like the real Vitali Klitschko on screen. But it wasn’t him. Berlin’s governing mayor, Franziska Giffey, was caught on Friday by a scammer who posed as Kiev mayor Klitschko. According to the participants, the video call lasted half an hour. Then it was canceled.
The Senate Chancellery had announced a meeting with the mayor of Kyiv in the afternoon. The Ukrainian side asked for it.
You can read all current developments from the Ukraine and Berlin every morning from 6 a.m. in our Tagesspiegel newsletter Checkpoint. Subscribe now here for free.
At 5 p.m. Giffey wanted to video call Klitschko for half an hour. At 6:45 p.m., the Berlin Senate Chancellery announced that the conversation had been broken off. “The course of the conversation and the setting of the topic aroused distrust on the Berlin side. The conversation was broken off prematurely,” was announced on Twitter.
There was a suspicion that the interlocutor was not Vitali Kltischko, it said. “A conversation with Ambassador Andriy Melnyk has now confirmed this afterwards.”
According to the interviewees, the conversation took place with video recording. A photo obtained by the Tagesspiegel shows a person who looks like Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko.
A spokeswoman told the Tagesspiegel that the scammer inquired about the situation in Berlin and about the care of the refugees in the first fifteen minutes. Then questions came that would have made “suspicious”. Berlin was supposed to help Ukrainian men leave Berlin to fight in Ukraine.
“Or, for example, the question of whether Ukrainian refugees in Germany would obtain social benefits by fraud.” The conversation then broke off for technical reasons.
Berlin’s Governing Mayor commented on the process as follows: “Unfortunately, it is part of the reality that the war is being waged with all means – including online, in order to undermine trust with digital methods and to discredit Ukraine’s partners and allies.”
The real Vitali Klitschko was last in Berlin in April 2022. At that time, the Mayor of Kiev and ex-boxing world champion met Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), among others. He thanked the Germans for supporting Ukraine.
[If you want to have all the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]
Berlin had taken in a particularly large number of Ukrainian refugees in Germany. In the meantime, 285,000 war refugees have arrived in Ukraine. Some of these people have traveled on or returned to Ukraine.
However, up to 100,000 people could be in the city. There are no exact numbers. According to estimates, more than 60,000 are cared for by the job centers.
Klitschko was last in Berlin in April 2022. At that time, the Mayor of Kiev and ex-boxing world champion met Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), among others. He thanked the Germans for supporting Ukraine.