Caller claimed to be Ukraine's prime minister
The call with Perry lasted 20 minutes
It’s an “oops” moment for Rick Perry.
A prankster pretending to be Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman managed to have a more than 20-minute phone call with the US energy secretary earlier this month.
The two men discussed energy policy, US sanctions on Russia, an upcoming visit by Perry to Ukraine, and defending against cyberattacks – including from Russia.
There is no indication in the call that Perry realized he was not talking to the real prime minister.
Perry’s office acknowledged the call with Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus, whose real names are Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksey Stolyarov. The conversation took place last Wednesday, about a month after Perry met with Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko.
“Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” said Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. “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.”
Audio of the conversation was posted to a website called Vesti.ru.
The audio appears to be edited, because the actor purporting to be Groysman speaks in Russian and Perry speaks in English, but no translation is heard.
Vovan and Lexus have previously pulled similar telephone pranks on other political figures and celebrities.