‘These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials,’ spokeswoman says, after duo tricked Perry into thinking he was talking to Ukrainian PM

The US energy secretary Rick Perry has become the latest victim of a pair of Russian phone pranksters who have previously fooled Elton John into thinking he was chatting to Vladimir Putin.

On this occasion, Perry believed he was discussing American coal exports with Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman. In fact, he was talking to Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, Russian pranksters who have become known for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts, energy department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed.

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