Russia is said to have hacked the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, reports The New York Times based on research by Internet security company Area 1. The company is at the center of the impeachment procedure against US President Donald Trump.
Hackers from the Russian military intelligence service GRU are said to have tried to penetrate Burisma since November. It is unclear exactly what the hackers were looking for and whether they have stolen anything.
A month earlier it was announced that Trump would have put pressure on Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky in a telephone conversation. Trump asked Ukraine to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden, whose son Hunter was on the Burisma administration.
According to Area 1, the hackers of the GRU, also called Fancy Bear, have set up fake websites that looked like the websites of Burisma companies. Phishing would have lured Burisma staff to those websites, hoping that they would reveal their login details in this way. That would have succeeded a number of times, says Area 1.
There have also been attacks on the Ukrainian television company Kvartal 95, founded by President Zelensky. Possibly the hackers there searched for emails from Ivan Bakanov, the head of the Ukrainian security service, who was at the head of the TV company.
Deposition procedure currently lies with the Senate
A corruption investigation was ongoing against Burisma in 2016. According to Trump, Hunter Biden was also guilty of corruption while working at the energy company. According to Trump, his father has abused his position as vice president under Barack Obama to protect his son from persecution. There is no proof of this.
The telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky is the reason for the removal proceedings against the American president. Trump was formally charged by the House of Representatives in December.
The chance that Trump will actually be deposited is small. For that, two thirds of the Senate, where Republicans have a majority, must vote in favor. None of the 53 Republican senators has indicated that they will do so.
See also: Impeachment for Dummies: Why the chance of depositing Trump is small