United States Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was duped by a pair of Russian phone pranksters, who made him believe he was talking to Ukraine’s prime minister nearly half an hour.
The prank call—which was made by a pair of pranksters, Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, who are known for targeting politicians and celebrities—was confirmed by the energy department to the Guardian. The call lasted 22 minutes.
The conversation turned to the prankster, posing as the Ukrainian prime minister, telling Perry that the country had invented a new biofuel from alcohol and pig manure, according to reports.
“Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” an energy department spokesperson told the Washington Post. “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.”
The two also discussed coal exploration, natural-gas pipelines, and the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Perry appears to have been relying on a translator.
“I hope that stepping away from the Paris Accord will not have any negative impact with our relationship with the Ukraine,” Perry said during the call. “We tried to divorce the politics from this and really just let our record stand, one that I’m very proud of.”
As for the pig manure plan, Perry said he’d like to get more information about it, according to reports.
The pranksters, who are sometimes called the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” according to the Guardian, also prank called Elton John, who thought he was speaking to the Russian president.
The call took place on July 19.
You can listen to the call (without translation) here: