Rick Perry duped by Russian duo impersonating Ukraine leader
WASHINGTON (AP) — Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been fooled by a pair of Russian pranksters impersonating the prime minister of Ukraine.
Perry spoke to the pair about the Paris climate agreement and the possibility of using pig manure as a power source in his 22-minute conversation with Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov. The entire phone call was posted online by Russian news site Vesti.
Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed the authenticity of the call, saying in a statement that the duo targets high-level officials and celebrities “who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine.”
The pair, known as Vovan and Lexus, arranged the call with Perry last week, just a few weeks after he met with Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, and his delegation.
The two men pitched Perry on a new fuel they said was made from alcohol and manure and discussed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, as well as possible cyberattacks and the Trump administration’s desire to export natural gas to Ukraine, according to a recording posted online.
Other victims of past pranks by the pair include singer Elton John, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.