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Russian spies hacked Ukrainian gas company at heart of Trump impeachment trial

Russian military spies have hacked a Ukrainian gas company that is at the heart of an impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump, who sought last year to pressure Ukraine to investigate the company and its links to Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, according to a cybersecurity firm.

Beginning in early November, the Russian spy agency GRU launched a phishing campaign against Burisma Holdings to trick unsuspecting employees into giving up their email credentials so the hackers could gain access to their email accounts – once again entangling Moscow in domestic US politics, according to Area 1 Security, a Redwood City, California, firm.

US President Donald Trump with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in 2019. The attacks coincided with an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office by pushing Ukraine to investigate Burisma and Hunter Biden.

US President Donald Trump with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in 2019. The attacks coincided with an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office by pushing Ukraine to investigate Burisma and Hunter Biden.Credit:AP

The operation’s launch coincided with a congressional impeachment inquiry into Trump and whether he abused his office by seeking to press Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing a probe of Burisma and Hunter Biden – an action that conceivably would aid Trump’s reelection bid.

The GRU was active in the 2016 presidential campaign, hacking the servers of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and releasing their emails that summer and autumn. The disclosures disrupted the Democratic convention and undermined Clinton’s campaign in the critical final weeks, and the US intelligence community concluded that with such actions Moscow aimed to help Trump and hurt Clinton.

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