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Posted: 2017-07-26 16:21:50

It was a winding, wonkish and occasionally obscure conversation about foreign coal exploration, natural-gas pipelines and pig manure as a power source.

But only one of the men on the line — Energy Secretary Rick Perry  — held sway over his nation’s energy policy. On the other end of the conversation were Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, who had just added Perry to their list of high-profile hoax victims.

“Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in an email to 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 man the pranksters hoodwinked is in charge of the government agency that maintains the nation’s stockpile of nuclear warheads and cleans up nuclear waste.

During the conversation, which was posted in its entirety on Vesti, a Russian news site, Perry was convinced he was talking to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who appears to speak through an interpreter. Perry talked about a potential pipeline across the Baltic Sea for Russian gas, cyberattacks on the U.S. power grid, natural-gas exploration in Ukraine and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

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

He also talked about a meeting scheduled for August where they would let American business executives talk about extracting oil and natural gas in Ukraine.

“What we have seen in Texas is the great increase of productivity, particularly in shale gas because of hydraulic fracturing and the directional drilling,” Perry said.

Perhaps the only giveaway about the true

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