According to the leaked documents, supposedly acquired from a member of Biden’s delegation, the US is not only planning to arm Kiev with assault rifles, snipers, and various explosives, but it already has some members of Ukraine’s armed forces on the Pentagon’s payroll. If true, such a development would prove that “the Ukrainian army is the branch of US Armed Forces”, as CyberBerkut alleges, and signify a dangerous escalation of the proxy war against Russia. It would also prove that President Obama wasn’t exactly being completely honest when he said that America wouldn’t transfer lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
Anonymous Actors, Public Impact
CyberBerkut isn’t just your ‘ordinary’ hacktivist group, however — they’ve already committed a few high-profile hacks that’ve changed the course of the conversation about Ukraine:
Remember Victoria Nuland’s unforgettable quote and her secret plot to assemble a post-coup government in Kiev? Well, CyberBerkut may have been responsible for that recording being leaked, according to Leksika, a strategic and tactical analysis group focused on Russia:
This created a flurry of negative reactions not just about Nuland’s undiplomatic language towards America’s ally, but also about the fact that the US was conspiring to secretly build a new government after the current one was overthrown.
“They Don’t Want To Investigate What Actually Happened”
Next up was the scandal about the Maidan snipers, which were shooting indiscriminately at both police and protesters during the last days of the Yanukovich government. Estonian Prime Minister Urmas Paet was recorded telling Catherine Ashton that he heard that “all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.”:
The fallout from this revelation raised the public’s suspicions that a third party was purposely provoking both the protesters and the police in order to maximize chaos and create the right conditions for a final regime change push, which actually happened only days after the sniper shootings.
“They Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons”
Ukraine’s former Prime Minister and the West’s political darling Yulia Timoshenko supposedly uttered the above in reference to what should happen to the 8 million Russians living in Ukraine after Crimea’s reunification with Russia:
Although she denies the recording’s authenticity, the extreme Ukrainian nationalism expressed in the statement raised concerns about Kiev’s intentions towards the Russian-speaking minority and may have served to harden Donbass’ resistance towards the coup government.
From The Shadows To The Spotlight
CyberBerkut proves that hacktivists are emerging from the shadows and becoming important players on the global arena. The Anonymous collective paved the way by spearheading online privacy activism and the support of diverse social causes worldwide. They also held their “Million Mask March” earlier this month where thousands of their advocates demonstrated incognito across the globe. And Chelsea Manning’s WikiLeaks work was also groundbreaking in its own right. It occurred before CyberBerkut was even conceptualized, but that was mostly due to one individual and more akin to copying and leaking files that were already within access.
CyberBerkut, however, takes matters to a whole other level, since the group hunts restricted information that can alter events as they are currently proceeding. Thus, they were the first to make a timely impact on Great Power politics with their Nuland revelation. This proved that US officials were gaming to configure a post-coup government in Ukraine without the public’s knowledge, adding flames to the fiery speculation that the US engineered the entire destabilization in the first place. Nuland’s comments brought the issue of potential US involvement in Ukraine’s domestic affairs to international attention, confirming what many had already suspected was happening.
Considering CyberBerkut’s documented success at revealing such high-profile and closely guarded information as their previous exploits, it may very well turn out that their latest leak is also true and could have just as powerful of an effect on the international discourse as the Nuland recording.