Ukrainian hackers claim to have uncovered information from Vladislav Surkov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's top aide, regarding an alleged plot to destabilize Ukraine in the next few months.
The hacking group CyberJunta, claims to have found the incriminating evidence from Surkov's email exchanges, according to Foreign Policy. Troves of emails have been released, alongside a scan of his and his family's passports and 22 pages from a document saying that Russia plans to support nationalist and separatist politicians in the next Ukrainian election, hoping that their win will undermine governmental authority in Kiev.
"It is necessary to create favorable conditions for controllable political forces to enter the new parliament," the released document reads, going on to say to say that their plan would end the war in Donbass between pro-Russian separatists and current governmental forces "on Russian terms."
Surkov is often thought of as the architect of the current Russian political system, according to Foreign Policy, and has worked as Putin's senior official since 1999. He is often considered to have played a key role in Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, one of the boldest land grabs in modern history.
The Crimean Peninsula, which was once a semi-autonomous part of Ukraine, was invaded by Russian forces in early 2014 after a revolt deposed the pro-Russian government, according to CNN. Putin declared Crimea to be an annexation of Russia, saying that it was his responsibility to govern the area, given that Crimea has an ethnic Russian majority. However, Ukrainian governmental officials disagree, calling the move "a robbery on an international scale."
Since then, tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been at an all time high, with Ukrainians worried that the Russians will plan to start a full-scale territory war with the country.
The hacked emails could prove that Russian officials do in fact plan on encroaching on Ukrainian territory in the future by destabilizing the entire governmental system. However, the Kremlin denies all claims, going so far as to say that the hacks were fabricated.
"We have seen [the released emails], it is an interesting document," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to the government-controlled news agency Sputnik News. "This is not him. I can add that [Surkov] is not using e-mail at all. Someone had to try really hard to produce this document."
CyberJunta claims that they plan on releasing more of Surkov's confidential emails and documents in the near future and that they have teamed up with other hacker groups across the world, according to Foreign Policy.