Energy Secretary Rick Perry believed he was speaking to the Ukrainian prime minister in a phone call last week, but was actually speaking to two men who call themselves “Jerky Boys.”
The pair refer to themselves as the “Jerky Boys of Russia.”
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Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov have made a sort of career from prank-calling celebrities and national leaders, including Elton John and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan.
A statement to the Washington Post from Energy Department spokesperson Shalylyn Nynes reads:
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.
As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry is responsible for the security of much of the United States’ nuclear materials, as well as the cybersecurity of the American energy grid, among other objectively serious tasks.
Perry and the “Ukranian Prime Minister” spoke about a wide variety of topics. The Washington Post reports that the three touched on a pipeline in the Baltic Sea, cyberattacks on the American power grid, the Paris Climate Accord and the United States’ withdrawal from it and a new fuel source derived from moonshine and pig manure.