SBU reveals subversive network of Russian secret services acting in the south of Ukraine and in ATO area
During the briefing the SBU Chief of Staff Oleksandr Tkachuk and the Chief of the SBU Military Counterintelligence Serhii Levchenko informed that the Security Service of Ukraine revealed a subversive network of Russian secret services, which acted in the south of Ukraine and in the ATO area.
The SBU officers established that the network was formed under direct control and coordination of the GRU General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The primary task of the residents was to form their agent network in the most important infrastructures and military bases of the southern region. ‘The chief and coordinator of the Russian secret service network appointed their long time agent – the participant of the tragic events in Kulykove Pole in Odesa’, Oleksandr Tkachuk stressed.
The SBU recorded the woman moving to the temporarily annexed Crimea where she trained in the training camp of GRU General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. ‘Handlers from Moscow were specially involved into her training and give her tasks’, the SBU Chief of Staff underlined.
The handlers together with her worked out a legend about supporting the group, ways of communication with the intelligence center, the amounts of financial reward for gathered information and variants of immediate evacuation in case of failure. ‘For ‘communication’ Russian handlers gave the resident an experienced agent from former UAF servicemen who was ‘appointed’ as the deputy chief of the resident agency’, the Chief of the Military CI informed. According to him, it was the serviceman who recruited agents working on critical infrastructure and in the military bases of the southern region. Some members of the group were acting and former servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
All the residents were pro-Russians and supported the creation of so-called ‘Odesa Republic’. Some of them took part in the events in Kulykove Pole. They were tasked with: copying official records, conducting visual surveillance over military objects, providing photo and video information about movement of UAF staff and equipment. The residents enhanced their activity in the end of 2016. ‘We managed to prevent handling of secret and important information to Russian secret services. The SBU Military CI officers controlled the activity of the residents’, - Serhii Levchenko stressed.
The data was gathered primarily in the south of Ukraine, but the SBU recorded facts of the ‘activity’ of one of the members of the network who was an acting serviceman during a trip to the ATO area. The resident agents abided to strict secrecy means worked out by Russian handlers. The information was transferred via the Internet in secret chats of the IP-telephony messengers using code signals, all contacts with the handlers were immediately deleted.
After receiving information about the training of the group for committing sabotage activity the secret service decided to apprehend its members. ‘On March 19 in Odesa the SBU Military CI together with Special Group ‘Alpha’ apprehended four residents and their handlers while transferring gathered information’, Oleksandr Tkachuk informed. Procedural actions are under way concerning other six members of the network.
In the process of searches in the apartments of the detainees and other resident agents the SBU officers confiscated 7 improvised explosives with nails, 2 F-1 grenades, 5 Makarov, TT and Browning guns with silencers and 4 items of improvised firearms. The SBU officers also revealed a list with surnames of seven Ukrainian activists of the region. The criminals managed to gather information in particular about their places of residence and routes.
The SBU Main Investigative Department conducts urgent investigative actions in the framework of a criminal case under Article 111 (High treason) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Urgent investigative actions are under way.
SBU Press Center
For the Attention of the SBU Head