11:40 Nov. 3, 2016
Hackers produce details on plans to stoke unrest in Kharkiv, replace unruly separatist officials, and submit pro-Russian bills to parliament
Leaked Kremlin emails reveal how Russian operatives botched an attempt last year to foment an uprising in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, writes Maxim Tucker for The Times.
The emails, obtained by The Times, were apparently hacked from the inbox of Maria Vinogradova, an adviser to Vladislav Surkov, President Putin's point man on Ukraine. The civilian intelligence analysis group Inform Napalm said that it had traced the adviser to an office in central Moscow used by the FSB spy agency.
Three of the Ukrainian hackers involved in the leak met The Times on condition of anonymity. They rejected suggestions that the hack had been carried out with the help of Ukrainian or US intelligence services.
The inbox that they shared contains 423 emails between government officials and separatist leaders between 2014 and 2016. Highlights include a proposal from a militant leader to split Ukraine into three parts under a federalized system, plans to replace unruly separatist officials who were then killed or arrested, and draft Ukrainian laws to be submitted by a pro-Russian party.
The email trove includes two maps sent in January this year by Denis Pushilin, a rebel leader who reports regularly to Surkov, and suggests that Ukraine could be carved into three parts: an eastern third known as "New Russia", a central region, including Kyiv, to be known as "Lesser Russia" and a smaller western area to take the historic name "Galicia".