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Ukrainian PM, U.S. Senator Targeted In Hoax Letter

A forger sent a hoax letter to Russian media in an apparent bid to convince journalists that a senior U.S. lawmaker was trying to tell Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk how to run his government.

The hoaxer wrote to Yatsenyuk on what appeared to be U.S. Senate stationery, claiming to be Senator Richard Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate and a leading American voice on Ukrainian issues who traveled to Kyiv recently to discuss Russian aggression, said Ben Marter, a spokesman for Durbin, on July 6.

Durbin's office told the CIA and FBI about the letter after being contacted by Russian state-owned media asking for comment.

The forged letter was on paper that resembled U.S. Senate stationery, but with Durbin's title wrong.

It suggested that Yatsenyuk "invest every effort" to keep some officials in place, including the agriculture minister and the head of the country's nuclear monopoly. But it said the U.S. Senate feels some others do not have the qualities necessary for their jobs.

"This letter is a forgery and was obviously written by somebody with a tenuous grasp of the English language," Marter said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and