And now, Russians fool Trump's energy secretary over alcohol-pig manure 'fuel'

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry is reported to have recently been fooled by Russian pranksters, posing as Ukranian prime minister and his translator, to believe that a special fuel can be produced by blending alcohol and pig manure.

The Russian pranksters - Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov - are reported to have talked to Perry about President Donald Trump's policies, including the decision to quit Paris Climate Accord.

According to Reuters, the conversation took place on 19 July and lasted 22 minutes. During the call, Perry ''optimistically'' discussed expanding the American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters, US Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a written statement. ''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,'' Hynes said.

Perry told the pranksters that Trump administration was opposed to Nord Stream 2, a Russian project to bring natural gas to Europe across the Baltic and that US technology could help Ukraine develop gas. ''Giving Ukraine more options with some of our technology is, I think, in everyone's best interest with the exception of the Russians, but that's OK,'' he said.

Perry also talked about Trump's decision to quit the Paris climate accord and coal exports on the call. The phone conversation was first reported by E&E news, recorded and posted online on (//bit.ly/2eMg35v).

During the conversation, the pranksters also informed Perry about a new ''biofuel'' invented by Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko, The Washington Post reported. They told Perry that the ''fuel'' was made from a mix of ''home-brewed alcohol and pig manure''. In response Perry said he would like to no more about the ''scientific development'', The Post said.

The conversation took place around a month after Perry had met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his delegation at the US Energy Department.

In June, President Trump had offered Washington's plan to offer Ukraine more coal exports from the United States because the eastern European nation's industrial sector had difficulty securing coal from separatist-held regions.

Perry's department also oversees the US nuclear weapons programme.

Reuters said the news of the prank call came on the same day on which the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on Russia.

The Russian pranksters, who are also called as the 'Jerky Boys of Russia' after an American duo who put out recordings of their prank phone calls in the 1990s, claim to have many high-profile victims, including singer Elton John, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Croatian prime minister, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Rep Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Last year, they have made faux calls to British singer Elton John, who thought he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.