Hackers from Russia's military intelligence unit reportedly targeted and successfully hacked into subsidiaries of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company where ex-Vice President Joe Biden's son served on the board. According to The New York Times, Russian military intelligence (G.R.U.) and “Fancy Bear” hackers targeted a number of Ukrainian companies starting in November in a phishing campaign, which would collect the usernames and passwords of employees to breach the system. A Silicon Valley security firm who detected the hack told the newspaper they determined all the companies targeted were subsidiaries of Burisma. One of the companies targeted, Ukrainian television production company Kvartal 95, was founded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The phishing email seemed to reportedly target correspondence of the Kvartal 95's head, Ivan Bakanov—who was later appointed head of Ukraine’s Security Service. President Trump's impeachment inquiry was sparked after a whistleblower raised concerns about a call Trump had with Zelensky, where he pushed for the country to investigate the Bidens.
It's not clear what the hackers found, or what they were searching for. However, the tactics are reportedly similar to those used to hack Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election. The Justice Department indicted several officers from the G.R.U. in 2018 for the hacking. The Russian government and Burisma have not spoken publicly on the matter. Spokesman for the Biden campaign said the attempt was recognition from Trump that “he can’t beat the vice president.” “Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat,” he said. “Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections.”