The Russian Foreign Ministry created an April Fools' joke based on allegations that the country interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (video below).
The ministry posted an audio file to its Facebook page on April 1 that purported to be the automated telephone switchboard message people would hear when calling a Russian embassy. The options that callers were given in the fake message included hacking and election interference services.
"You have reached the Russian embassy, your call is very important to us. To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1," the recording states in both Russian and English.
"To use the services of Russian hackers, press 2. To request election interference, press 3 and wait until the next election campaign," the recording continues.
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"Please note that all calls are recorded for quality improvement and training purposes," the message concludes.
A Russian Foreign Ministry duty officer confirmed to The Associated Press that the Facebook post was an official joke.
The joke has been listened to more than 238,000 times, with more than 4,000 reactions and over 5,000 shares on Facebook in under a day.
Allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to get President Donald Trump elected have dominated political news for months. Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to put an end to them while talking on a CNBC-moderated panel on March 30:
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We said on numerous occasions and I reiterate that we are confident … and know for sure that opinion polls in the United States show that very many people are … friendly towards the Russian Federation, and I'd like to tell these people that we perceive and regard the United States as a great power with which we want to establish good partnership relations.
All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies. All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside.
Trump has denied that he worked with Russia and said that Democrats "made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign."
An investigation by the FBI is ongoing into whether Russia interfered with the election.
Putin, when asked directly whether Russia interfered, borrowed a common phrase of former President George H.W. Bush. "Read my lips, no," he said.