Russian agent arrested in planning insurgency
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced on Dec. 27 that it uncovered a network of Russian military intelligence agents operating in the Mykolayiv region and liquidated its illegal activity. The leader of this network, a captain in Ukraine’s Armed Forces reserves, was arrested on Dec. 20 on charges of treason and was found to have Russian citizenship, violating Ukraine’s prohibition on dual citizenship. He traveled numerous times to occupied Crimea for meetings.
“The former senior naval officer and his associates were given the task by Russian intelligence services to collect and distribute classified information on the functioning of military units on the territory of the Ochakiv garrison of the Mykolayiv oblast, and also recruiting them to conduct Operation United Forces in eastern Ukraine,” Volodymyr Nastiuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s counterintelligence, told a press briefing. “The last task from his Russian curators was to create and lead an insurgency on the territory of the Okachiv district to conduct various measures to destabilize the situation in the regions.”
The SBU simultaneously conducted operations to uncover Russian military intelligence agents in the Kharkiv and Odesa regions, Nastiuk said. Informants are located throughout the southeastern regions of Ukraine, as well as the Kyiv region, he said. The general directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff “remains in the avant-garde of the Kremlin’s aggressive politics towards Ukraine,” he said, having reformatted its work towards “conducting deeply conspiratorial and long-term operations.” Their goal is to undermine Ukraine’s defense capabilities and all essential spheres of activity, he said. “Blatant sabotage and terrorist methods are being used – kidnappings, bombings, political killings and others.”
Zenon Zawada: We expect the activity of Russian intelligence agents in Ukraine (and their Russian-oriented Ukrainian co-conspirators) will be particularly intense throughout 2019, when elections and the potential for vote fraud will create opportunities for severe destabilization and civil unrest. This report makes it clear that the Russians will not limit their strategy to elections to regain control of the Ukrainian territory. They are acting to support military insurgencies to break apart the Ukrainian state. It will be a significant victory for Ukrainians if they conclude 2019 with their territory intact, and their Euro-Atlantic integration course uninterrupted.