How to deal with recruitment attempts

During the hybrid war in Ukraine, Russian special services may attempt to re-cruit Ukrainians. Their task is to collect intelligence, make provocations etc. Each of us is at risk, including servicemen, law enforcement officers, ATO (JFO) par-ticipants, civilians, as well as those who move between Russia and Ukraine, or this that travel to the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories. In addition, those who have relatives there or travel around the country are also targeted.

High-risk citizens should bear in mind:

  1. Special services may use for recruitment various methods, such as physical coercion, threats to the life and health, moral and psychological pressure, provocation and blackmail, promises of monetary rewards, as well as crea-tion of artificial compromising situations. Moreover, they can threaten in-dividuals with being banned entry to Russia, separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions or the Autonomic Republic of Crimea. Relatives liv-ing in those territories, may also be persecuted.
  2. Russian special services operate at the state border crossings with Ukraine, checkpoints on the demarcation line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as on the administrative borders with the occupied AR of Crimea.
  3. Russian special services forcefully check citizens' mobile phones to identify their ties with Ukrainian law enforcement officers. In the course of adminis-trative proceedings, your data, place of work, reasons for visiting the oc-cupied territories or Russia will be investigated.
  4. High-risk persons may be subjected to intensive inspection or detailed in-terview. Interrogations will be conducted in a separate room where the per-sons may be forced to cooperate.
  5. People are often recruited directly in Russia or the occupied territories, and those who live illegally in Russia or smuggle goods across the border may be vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation.
  6. The Russian special services may use blackmail, they may fabricate smug-gling charges or even intentionally cause a traffic accident. Furthermore, people may be detained for participation in unauthorised rallies or accused of involvement in terrorist groups.
  7. Sometimes a citizen may not even realise that he works for another coun-try. The individuals communicate with allegedly ordinary people, such as members of public, religious and cultural associations, as well as employ-ers and foreigners without knowing that they are being used. Experienced special service agents who work undercover may take advantage of patriot-ic slogans or monetary reward. As a result, they incite destructive and ille-gal actions through recruits.

According to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, cooperation with foreign special ser-vices is defined as a crime against national security and qualifies as high treason. This provides for a penalty of 12 and 15 years of imprisonment with or without confiscation of property.

At the same time, the Criminal Code of Ukraine provides for liberation from criminal responsibility if a person on his own violation declares her links with a foreign special service (Part 2 Art. 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). During 2017-2019, 43 persons exercised this right and were exempted from liability.