rick perry
Energy Secretary Rick Perry speaks to reporters during a briefing at the White House in Washington, June 27, 2017. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Energy Secretary Rick Perry isn’t exactly considered the brightest button in the Trump administration, and a series of gaffes and faux pas littered his career even before Trump chose him to helm the crucial Energy Department.

In the latest incident to have put Perry in an awkward situation, was a prank call last week by Russian duo Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have been described as the "Jerky Boys of Russia.”

The duo pretended to be Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in the 22 minute call with Perry, where they pitched a fuel made from alcohol and pig manure, discussed cyberhacking and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

The Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed the call. “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."

This isn’t the first time the duo have targeted U.S. politicians, and in February they called Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Republican Majority leader Mitch McConnell, and spoke about Russian sanctions and cyberattacks with them.

Even then they posed as Groysman in addition to Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament, while making the calls. The duo told McCain that Russian President Vladimir Putin was preparing a dossier on him, which would prove he was a Russian spy recruited during his capture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. They also told him hackers have been directed by Kremlin to attack McCain’s servers and tap his phone.

They also mentioned the issue of sanctions on Russia to McCain, who assured them he would do everything possible to make sure that they remained in place.

"Thank you very much for that information and I will certainly be aware as to the content of my conversations as far as any national, security issues are concerned… We'll win this fight," the senator responded.

They continued with the subject in their call to McCain’s ally Graham, who told them Trump could revoke Obama’s sanctions on Russia, but wouldn’t be able to do the same with the sanctions imposed by Congress after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. And it is not just politicians who have been at the receiving end of the duo — Stolyarov goes by the name Lexus and Kuznetsov as Vovan — and their most famous scalp has been musician Elton John.

In 2015, they called up John pretending to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, after the musician had expressed a wish to talk to the leader to discuss the country’s law on gay propaganda.

The singer wrote an effusive Instagram post about the call, and only when Kremlin denied the call did it become clear that the call was a prank. It has been alleged that the duo are linked to the Russian government, and make these calls at the Kremlin's behest. However, the duo have denied the charge and said the calls are made for their own amusement.

“We work for ourselves, for nobody else,” Stolyarov told the Guardian. Kuznetsov added: “We only choose the subjects we are interested in ourselves.”