A Ukrainian group that goes by the name Cyber Hunta has just released emails and other material from the office of one of Vladimir Putin’s top aides, Vladislav Surkov.
Included in the emails is evidence of Russia’s involvement in the separatist movement in Ukraine. According to NBC News, the emails show that Russia controlled virtually every detail of the separatist effort in Ukraine, which tore apart the country and led to the Russian takeover of Crimea.
And unlike the reported Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Ukrainian hack reached deep into the office of the Russian president.
A senior U.S. intelligence official has come out and said that the U.S. “had no role” in the hack.
The Ukrainian hackers were able to download the Outlook email accounts of Surkov’s assistants, and 2,337 messages in total were released.
A senior U.S. official, asked if the material was authentic, told NBC News that there was “nothing to indicate otherwise.”
Additional information from NBC News on the hack can be seen below:
The one gigabyte file are a variety of materials that provided evidence of Russian involvement at the highest levels in the war in eastern Ukraine, which has taken the lives of 10,000 people, including the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Flight 17, shot down by a separatist missile in July 2014 over Ukraine.
There is a list of casualties in the Donbass region of Ukraine sent from a high-ranking separatist official, and a list of candidates for office in a sham election. One email notes that the individuals with asterisks next to their name were “checked by us” and are “especially recommended.” Days later, those same names were announced as having been “elected.”
There are expense reports and a proposal for a government press office in Donetsk, scene of some of the fiercest fighting — a three-person operation for separatist propaganda, with an editor, reporter and webmaster.
One U.S. official told NBC News that the material confirms much of what the U.S. believed was going on at the time, that the Kremlin was running the separatists at a micro-level. In fact, the official noted that Surkov’s name was the first on a list of Russians and Ukrainians placed under executive sanctions by President Obama in March 2014, citing his role in the separatist movement. The action froze his U.S. assets in the United States and banned him from entering the country. Similar sanctions were imposed by the European Union.
Czuperski said he believed that since Russian authorities realized they were dealing with a violation of international law, they wanted to keep the details in their emails close-hold. He said that while he believes there is likely more hacked material, and that it may prove politically sensitive, he doesn’t know that for sure, or whether “Cyber Hunta,” like WikiLeaks, will continually dump material.
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