US energy secretary duped by Russian pranksters

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was fooled by Russian pranksters who were impersonating Ukraine’s prime minister. Reports suggest he discussed US coal exports, a proposed pipeline across the Baltic Sea […]

Register now!

By Priyanka Shrestha

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry was fooled by Russian pranksters who were impersonating Ukraine’s prime minister.

Reports suggest he discussed US coal exports, a proposed pipeline across the Baltic Sea and other energy matters with Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyaro during a lengthy phone call this month.

Energy Department spokesperson Shaylyn Hayes is said to have confirmed the authenticity of the call, saying the duo are known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts.

He tricked Mr Perry into believing he was speaking to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

Ms Hayes said: “Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters…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.”

Other victims of past pranks by the pair include Elton John and Senator John McCain.