Ukraine detains Russian agents tasked with assassinating top security officials
Ukraine’s security service has detained a group of Russian agents whose mission was to assassinate Defense Minister and Military Intelligence chief (Photo:Ukraine’s security service (SBU))
Ukraine’s SBU security service has detained a group of Russian agents whose mission was to assassinate Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, the SBU said in a press release on Aug. 8.
According to the report, a complex counter-intelligence operation uncovered and interdicted an enemy reconnaissance and sabotage group (RSG), commanded by Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency.
“The perpetrators were arranging to physically liquidate (the Ukrainian) defense minister and head of military intelligence, along with a prominent Ukrainian activist,” SBU said in its message.
The group’s Russian handlers allegedly promised a reward of up to $150,000 for the successful assassinations of Ukrainian top officials.
The enemy RSG was formed by Russian intelligence operatives, and included a local from Russian-occupied Luhansk who previously fought against Ukrainian forces in the Donbas.
This individual – acting on orders from Moscow – used his contacts to try and find an assassin for the hit job.
One Kyiv local agreed to kill a Ukrainian military service member, whom Russians hold responsible for cruelty against Russian POWs, for a reward of $5,000.
This arranged assassination would have been a “test run” for the RSG’s main objectives. To coordinate the effort, the Luhansk point man travelled to Ukraine-controlled territory.
“Together with his co-conspirator, he was supposed to prepare the ‘liquidation’ plan, before getting it approved by his Russian handler,” SBU said.
Attempting to avoid getting apprehended, the perpetrator entered Ukraine through Belarus.
SBU picked up his trail in Volyn Oblast, where he met with his henchman.
Together with Ukrainian special forces, SBU detained both suspects in Kovel, Volyn Oblast, foiling their criminal plans. SBU operatives found evidence of planned assassinations and a Russian passport during a search of the detained men.
Both have been charged with treason and conspiracy to carry out premeditated murder.
The terms of the suspects’ pre-trial detention are still being determined.
According to Acting SBU head Vasyl Malyuk, the incident indicates Moscow is getting desperate because of its lack of success on the battlefield.
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