Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry addresses employees for the first time at Energy Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 2017.
Smith Collection—Gado/Getty Images
By Katie Reilly
July 25, 2017

Energy Secretary Rick Perry became the victim of a pair of Russian practical jokers, who recently impersonated Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and called Perry to discuss, among other things, fuel made from pig manure.

“Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” Department of Energy Spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes 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 conversation, which lasted about 20 minutes, came just weeks after Perry met with Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko. The call covered U.S. coal exports and a proposed pipeline across the Baltic Sea, Bloomberg reported.

The pranksters — Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov — told Perry about a new biofuel that combined home-brewed alcohol and pig manure, and he discussed the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The exchange was posted on the prankers’ website.

“I hope that stepping away from the Paris accord will not have any negative impact with our relationship with the Ukraine,” Perry said in the call, according to the Post. “We tried to divorce the politics from this and really just let our record stand, one that I’m very proud of.”

Kuznetsov and Stolyarov have previously targeted Arizona Sen. John McCain and singer Elton John.

Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com.

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