A report circulated to media outlets from the government press service Wednesday night saying that Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin had been removed from his post at his own request was a forgery, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman told Interfax.
"It contained grammatical errors and was sent from an electronic address forged to resemble an official announcement from the government press service," Natalia Timakova said.
The fake statement also said that Medvedev appointed Russian Railways vice president Alexander Misharin in Yakunin's place.
Yakunin's press secretary Alexander Pirkov had earlier denied the report as well, telling Interfax that Yakunin was actually in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. However, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax that there was no such meeting taking place.
Interfax, Reuters, Vedomosti, and other media outlets including The Moscow Times carried the original Interfax report of Yakunin's removal.
Following Timakova's comments, a warning appeared on the Kremlin website recommending that, due to incidents of cyber crime, mass media outlets be particularly cautious concerning information arriving by email from the presidential press service and that they call the service to confirm any reports received.