DOE head Rick Perry asked about pig manure in prank call with Russians

Energy Secretary Rick Perry thought he was speaking to the Ukrainian Prime Minister about energy policy. Instead, a pair of Russian pranksters pressed the cabinet member on pig manure.

In a 20 minute interview published on the Russian website Vesti, Perry covers a wide range of issues from the Paris climate accord to Ukrainian oil and gas production in a conversation he thought he was having with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

The pranksters pose as Groysman and appear to speak through a translator in the interview. 

According to Russian news site Pravda, after being told about a fuel created from a mix of home-brewed alcohol and manure created by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Perry responded positively to the idea.

However, the conversation did touch on issues pertinent to U.S. energy policy.

When addressing the Paris deal, Perry defended Trump's decision to pull out from the international agreement that more than 150 countries have ratified.

"Our position is that it's our record that should be looked at, not whether or not we have signed onto some international accord," Perry said. "We see our record of progress relative to the global environment to be substantially defensible."

According to World Bank data, the United States emitted three times the amount of carbon dioxide per capita compared to the world average in 2013.

Perry added that he hopes leaving the Paris deal would not have negative effects on U.S.-Ukrainian relations. "We tried to divorce the politics from this," he said.

“Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” DOE 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."

Perry isn't the pair's first victim. In 2015, singer Elton John was the target of a prank call when the two posed as Russian president Vladamir Putin, the Post reported. John posted on Instagram after, thanking Putin but quickly took the post down.

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