Energy Secretary Rick Perry was duped into a 22-minute phone call with two Russian pranksters, one of whom he believed was the Ukrainian prime minister, his office has confirmed.
Perry reportedly had a detailed conversation with Russian pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have been named the “Jerk Boys of Russia.”
During the conversation, both parties discussed issues such as American coal exports to Ukraine, the possibility of further sanctions on Russia, and the Paris climate agreement.
“Giving Ukraine more options with some of our technology is, I think, in everyone’s best interest, with the exception of the Russians, but that’s okay,” Perry said during the call, which has since been posted online.
“I hope that stepping away from the Paris accord will not have any negative impact on our relationship with the Ukraine,” he added. “We tried to divorce the politics from this and really just let our record stand, one that I’m very proud of.”
Later in the call, the pranksters mentioned the possibility of a new “biofuel” developed from feces and moonshine alcohol, which Perry said he looked forward to hearing more about.
“I’m sure that will be a highlight of the trip,” he said:
In June, President Donald Trump offered to export oil to Ukraine in what he described as his plan to create an era of “energy dominance.”
“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,” Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said.
The duo played a similar prank on British singer Elton John in 2015, convincing him he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin. After the hoax became public, the real Vladimir Putin called John to tell him “not to get offended” over the prank.