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Ukrainian authorities ask FBI for help investigating Russian hack on Burisma

Ukrainian authorities ask FBI for help investigating Russian hack on Burisma
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Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs on Thursday announced that the country’s cyber police had started "criminal proceedings" around the recent hacking of gas company Burisma, and noted that authorities were seeking the assistance of the FBI in pursuing the case. 

The ministry wrote in a statement that criminal proceedings had been launched, and that “persons involved in committing this criminal offense are being identified.”

The company has been propelled into the spotlight in recent months due to the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE, which began after an anonymous whistleblower report alleged that Trump had tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter Trump narrows Biden's lead in Pennsylvania: poll Florida breaks first-day early voting record with 350K ballots cast MORE and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the company's board between 2014 and 2019. 

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The proceedings were launched following a story from The New York Times earlier this week, which reported findings by cyber group Area 1 Security that Russian military hackers had launched email phishing attacks designed to steal credentials of Burisma employees and gain access to the company’s systems. 

The attack reportedly came amid impeachment hearings in November.

According to the Times, the Russian hackers successfully got into at least one server, although it is unclear what they were able to access or whether anything was stolen.

The ministry noted that it had approached both the FBI and Area 1 Security for assistance in the probe into the hacking of Burisma. 

“In order to properly investigate the circumstances of the offense, the National Police is initiating the creation of a joint international investigation team, to which FBI representatives will be invited,” the ministry wrote.

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The announcement of the criminal proceedings in relation to the Burisma hack came the same day the ministry also launched a criminal investigation into whether former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGrand jury adds additional counts against Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and and Igor Fruman Strzok: Trump behaving like an authoritarian Powell backs Biden at convention as Democrats rip Trump on security MORE had been tracked by associates of Lev Parnas, an associate of former New York City Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRatcliffe, Schiff battle over Biden emails, politicized intelligence Hunter Biden's laptop: A Russian trick, a hack-job — or just what it looks like? Juan Williams: Trump's search for dirt falls flat MORE, while serving as ambassador. 

According to communications between Parnas and Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde that were made public earlier this week, Yovanovitch may have been followed while in Ukraine. Hyde has since denied that any spying took place.

A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment on whether it would assist Ukrainian authorities in their investigation.