Documents connected to NATO’s planned support of Ukraine in its war against Russia leaked on, of all things, a Minecraft Discord server.
Classified documents containing details of NATO and the United States’ plans to support Ukraine to repel Russia’s invasion have been leaked online. The U.S. military is now dealing with a massive leak that found its way to various social media platforms. However, the documents were first spotted on a Minecraft Discord server, where users usually gather to discuss or inquire about the game that just received the best DLC in the game’s history.
According to IGN, players were enjoying a light-hearted discussion of the Minecraft Discord server, an unofficial channel that is usually used to organize multiplayer lobbies and so on, when one used the attached 10 Top Secret documents, which contain sensitive information on the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, and how NATO plans to assist Ukraine. The officials are calling the event one of the most damaging leaks in decades, and interestingly enough, the content eventually made its way to the official Minecraft Discord server.
The smaller, unofficial server is populated mostly by American users; however, it was later re-uploaded to the official Minecraft Discord server, which has a worldwide population. From there, the information spread like wildfire to social media platforms such as 4chan, Twitter, and Telegram. Bellingcat, an open-source intelligence company, stated that there are two versions of the document, one estimating Ukraine’s losses lower than Russian, and the other—apparently edited version—showcasing the opposite.
According to the Department of Defense, the documents portraying Ukraine’s losses being greater than Russia’s are the documents edited by the Russian propaganda account on Telegram. As for what information these documents contain, we’re talking about what type of weaponry the Ukrainian forces are using, the country’s air defense systems and offensive capabilities, the aforementioned fatality statistic, and the communication about the US military allies.
The most interesting fact is that the news about the leak exploded less than a day ago, but the documents were actually leaked about a month ago. As it turns out, some members of the unofficial Minecraft Discord server joked about the war not being real, after which one of the users shared classified documents to make a point. The point was acknowledged, and the conversation quickly shifted toward Minecraft again.
Apparently, no one believed that the documents were real and that a federal crime had just occurred.
The political ramifications of this leak are yet to be determined, but those close to Ukraine’s political elite believe that the leaks haven’t originated from Russia but that an external, pro-Russian account made the documents public in an attempt to divide Ukraine’s allies in the ongoing conflict. The FBI is likely going to investigate this as a “treasonous” act, while many Discord users are now leaving the compromised servers or outright deleting their accounts in hopes that they’re safe.
Not even gaming servers are safe nowadays; the places we, the gaming collective, go to chat with our colleagues and discuss the upcoming raid strategies have now become stressful and fear-sowing grounds. Russia and its people are having a tough time when it comes to gaming, as many Russian teams have been removed from nearly all the popular sports teams, and many Ukrainians are calling for a boycott of an Atomic Heart game. On the other hand, Russian hackers retaliated by hacking the developers of STALKER 2.