Speed Reads

Fool me once

Russian pranksters trick Rick Perry into thinking he's talking energy with Ukraine's prime minister

What he thought was a productive conversation with Ukraine's prime minister was actually the latest embarrassment for Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Earlier this month, Perry, a former governor of Texas, spent 22 minutes chatting with a person he believed was the prime minister, sharing that the Trump administration is against a Russian project to bring natural gas to Europe across the Baltic and hinting that the Commerce Department was trying to figure out ways to bring more coal to Ukraine. It turns out Perry was really speaking to Russian pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have been called the "Jerky Boys of Russia," Reuters reports.

Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told Reuters the jokesters 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." Krasnov and Stolyarov, who once fooled Elton John into thinking he was conversing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, recorded their phone call with Perry, and posted it online.