The Ukrainian hacktivist group CyberBerkut recently published an alleged leak of American and Ukrainian official documents, showing Washington’s plans to provide the Ukrainian army and navy with an additional $25 million in military aid.
The group claimed to hack a tablet of an American delegation member during the visit of the U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden to Kyiv on November 20-21. The legitimacy of the documents however are in dispute.
CyberBerkut emerged as an anonymous hacker group after the Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich was toppled and fled from the capital.
CyberBerkut later took responsibility for attacks on the websites of NATO and various Ukrainian government bodies, disclosure of phone conversations between the Ukrainian and European politicians, publication of the U.S. Embassy correspondence, hacking the e-mail of the Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, and other cyber offences.
The papers contain lists of armaments and equipment, needed by the Ukrainian army, and orders of the U.S. officials to release the appropriate funds. Some of the documents bear signatures of what appears to be the U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to the papers, on September 24, President Obama delegated Secretary Kerry to “direct the drawdown of up to $5 million in defense articles and services of the Department of Defense and military education and training to provide immediate military assistance for the Government of Ukraine, to aid their efforts to respond to the current crisis.”
The papers also show that Kyiv was going to request from Washington 300 sniper rifles, 2000 assault rifles, 720 grenade launchers and 225 mortars. However, since April 2014 the U.S. government claimed that it would supply Ukraine with only non-lethal aid, such as vehicles, radars, armor vests, thermal viewers and food.
Another document requests special diving equipment, sufficient for putting 150 military divers into operation. CyberBerkut suggests that the Ukrainian navy needs them to do sabotage operations in Crimea against the Russian troops, though its true goals and plans are still unknown.
It is not certain whether the United States will give Ukraine all types and quantities of armaments it requested in the alleged documents. If the documents are legitimate an increase in financing and negotiations about lethal arms deliveries may signal a change of Washington’s attitude.