“It’s not us, it’s a FSB provocation,” said the SBU, officially disavowing their operation, which ended in failure in Minsk. “Komsomolskaya Pravda” described in detail how 33 Russians, most of whom fought in Donbass, were lured to the territory of Belarus. The guys were promised that they would fly from Minsk to Venezuela under a contract to protect Rosneft’s facilities in this Latin American country.
And the Ukrainian security forces told their Belarusian colleagues that they were employees of the “Wagner“ PMC, who came to “destabilise the situation” during the pre-election period. The Russians were detained in Minsk and charged first with terrorism, then with preparing mass riots. Kiev sent a request for the extradition of those who fought against Ukrainian troops in Donbass… And it is not known how it would have ended if the Russian competent authorities had not revealed the entire plan of the SBU. And even then they didn’t send all the details to Minsk.
Before our citizens were sent home, Aleksandr Lukashenko‘s eldest son Viktor apologised to them. Ukrainian journalists trumpeted that the operation failed due to the betrayal of certain officials. The Verkhovna Rada initiated the creation of a temporary investigative commission, which is supposed to pinpoint the “traitors”.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the fingerprints of specific employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from the Kiev residency are on this entire operation. A source in the Russian security services told the special correspondent of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” the details.
The Ukrainians left traces
Do you now have a complete picture of this provocation?
“For the competent authorities, clarity came a long time ago – even when our citizens were detained in Minsk. Even then, it was reliably established that the SBU was behind what was happening, which was announced on August 7th. It was 100% proven that the group’s air tickets were purchased by specific individuals on the territory of Ukraine, and fake phone numbers were purchased ‘in absentia’ from Kiev.”
According to my interlocutor, over the past month, new information has emerged indicating that Ukraine is involved in this special operation. For example, an ad about hiring security guards on behalf of Rosneft was placed on September 25th 2019 using the IP address of the Russian company “Rekonn”, which was rented by Aleksey Anatolyevich Kutsyn, a citizen of Ukraine, who lives in Kharkov.
“He is well known in the SBU, for example, an employee named Borisenko,” says our source in the security services. “Another clue – payment for the use of a domain name, which was linked to a fake email address used in correspondence with Russians, was made from a Canadian IP address through the payment system of the Ukrainian bank ‘JSC Universal Bank’.”
In addition, Russian law enforcement found that the insurance for Russians traveling to Minsk was issued through the Moscow insurance company “Arsenal” on behalf of one of the group’s members using a Kiev IP address. But there was no way he could be in Kiev. Also, those who transferred money from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the senior of the “Wagner” group were identified. It was possible in Turkey and Ukraine to reveal the entire chain involved in the transfer of money.
“The future temporary investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada, which the Zelensky administration does not allow to be created, as well as ‘independent’ journalists like Gordon, Arestovich, and Butusov may well turn, for example, to the former adviser of the former head of the SBU Vasily Gritsak, Giorgi Lortkipanidze, who will explain who gave instructions to transfer money to the natives of Chechnya who are also hiding in Kiev, Daniel Albert and Akhmadov Khasmagomed,” suggests my interlocutor. “They will also tell who asked them to organise the receipt of money in Minsk by Gennady Kumpan’s son, Vladislav. The first one, let me remind you, met a group of our citizens from Belarus. It is also possible to find in Odessa the fraudster Konstantin Tikhomirov, who escaped from St. Petersburg in 2018, and ask who asked him to transfer money to Belarus for a large group of our citizens through his contacts in St. Petersburg. To find Tikhomirov faster, we recommend finding the local resident Vadim Verbitsky in Odessa – he will say.”
By the way, immediately after the detention of our citizens, the Ukrainian Ambassador in Minsk was first notified, as evidenced by his report to Kiev on July 30th. According to our source, if there was no involvement of the Ukrainian side in this provocation, it is unlikely that the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission would have found out about it so quickly.
Kiev resident spies
At the same time, both the SBU and the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine disavowed involvement in this operation. And the new head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence Kirill Budanov said that this was a provocation of the FSB. At the same time, Ukrainian journalist Gordon boasted that even his interview with Lukashenko was part of a special operation.
“Well, who likes to admit failure. One wants to look like a winner. Hence the contradictory statements and actions, purposeful and unintentional leaks to the Ukrainian media and the Internet. Add to this the outright shock of the Ukrainian authorities from the realisation that their dirty plans ‘in the dark’ to use a seemingly friendly country have been revealed. And now one has to explain oneself to the CIA.”
Do you know who exactly participated in the development of this provocation?
“We do. And we recommend that the future temporary investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada or independent journalists go to house 5\7 on Patorzhinskaya Street in Kiev, where the 5th department of the SBU counterintelligence directorate is located, go to the third floor, open doors 309, 314, 315, 316, or better the 317 office, find there, for example, an employee of the 2nd department of the 5th directorate Vladislav Dolgozvyag and ask him take out of the safe the case that is of interest to everyone. In the event the safe is empty, we will show a list of employees of departments 1 and 2 of the 5th directorate who previously worked on this topic at different times and in different forms.
1st department of the 5th directorate of the counterintelligence unit
- Pavlo Gennadiyovich LEVCHENKO
- Valentin Mykolayovych MAKARENKO
- Kostyantin Anatoliyovych ROMANOV
- Pavlo Vasilovych MAZURCHUK
- Serhiy Petrovych VASHCHENKO
- Andriy Mykolayovych MYKHALYTSʹKYY
- Viktor Viktorovych BAZELYUK
- Serhiy Petrovych MAHLOVANYY
- Viktor Volodymyrovych HLADYSHEV
- Serhiy Vasylovych PARKHOMENKO
- Maksym Ivanovych LASHCH
- Serhiy Ihorovych KOROLOV
- Vladyslav Yuriyovych SIDORENKO
- Oleksandr Viktorovych KOKARYEV
- Dmytro Yuriyovych KOZLOVSKIY
- Pavlo Serhiyovych KARPACHOV
- Maksym Volodymyrovych KALKO
- Kostyantin Andriyovych KORNYEYEV
- Serhiy Volodymyrovych SAVITSKIY
2nd department of the 5th directorate of the counterintelligence unit
- Kostyantin Anatoliyovych ROMANOV
- Valeriy Viktorovych VINTONENKO
- Viktor Volodymyrovych LITOVCHENKO
- Ivan Vasylovych ONISHCHUK
- Viktor Mykolayovych ZAETS
- Oleksandr Oleksandrovych LEVISHCHENKO
- Oleh Volodymyrovych STRUK
- Mykola Olehovych KORCHUN
- Maksym Olehovych RUBETS
- Ivan Ivanovych MARKOV
- Taras Mykolayovych ZAHOLA
- Dmytro Serhiyovych PIDDYACHIY
- Vladyslav Volodymyrovych DOLHOZVYAHA
- Bohdan Serhiyovych BONDAR
- Oleksiy Viktorovych HAVRYK
- Serhiy Oleksandrovych HAVRYLENKO
- Yuriy Andriyovych HOLUBINKA
- Oleksandr Volodymyrovych DEMYANOVYCH
- Anton Valeriyovych ZAYVIY
- Andriy Andriyovych MYKHAYLENKO
- Andriy Anatoliyovych MUSHTA
- Bohdan Volodymyrovych PAVLYATENKO
It’s possible to also ask the head of the counter-intelligence department of the 3rd directorate of the SBU HQ of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions Aleksey Zagaynov and his deputy Dmitry Turevich how their vacation went after the ‘work of the righteous’ – these officers also know something about the preparation of the operation.
The legal side of the case can be clarified by the senior investigator for particularly important cases of 2nd department of the 1st directorate of pre-trial investigations of the Main Investigative Directorate of the SBU, Lieutenant Colonel of Justice Aleksandr Stanislavovich Tomusyak.”
You mentioned the CIA. What is its role in this story?
“Among the above-mentioned unintentional and deliberate leaks, one concerned a ‘well-known in the circles of the SBU’ employee of CIA station ‘T’, who was aware of the operation and participated in the adjustment of its planning. Those who are on the watch can wait at the US Embassy in Kiev for the official representative of the CIA Timothy James Skovin or his first deputy Brian Thomas O’Byrne, they will tell you a lot of interesting things if they want.”
What was the adjustment of the plan?
“The original plan was to lure Russian citizens of interest to the SBU into a trap. At the final stage, an additional, more global, strategic goal appeared with the help of the Americans – to divide Belarusian-Russian relations. This is why the SBU brought the group to Minsk and created conditions for its non-departure to Istanbul.”
Meanwhile, in the Ukrainian media, with reference to anonymous SBU employees, it was reported that after the departure of the airliner with Russians on board, it was supposed to land at one of the airfields of Ukraine. Journalistic versions of events differed – the Ukrainian agent on the plane had to pretend to be either a patient who suddenly became ill, or a terrorist. However, my interlocutor is skeptical about this version.
“Such options were discussed in the offices of the SBU, but only at the initial stage. In the spring of 2020, it was decided to drag a group of conditional ‘Wagner members’ to Minsk and detain them via the hands of the Belarusian special services. Let me remind you that at the time of crossing the Belarusian border late at night on July 24th, the tickets of all 33 Russian citizens with the original departure date on the morning of July 25th from Minsk were canceled, which the group members did not know about.”
In Ukraine, some tend to believe that the operation failed because of betrayal. Allegedly, at a meeting with Zelensky on July 24th, it was decided to postpone the operation, which eventually failed…
“Perhaps, on July 24th Zelensky had some kind of meeting. Maybe even on this topic. Just let me remind you that the booking for tickets on the route ‘Minsk-Istanbul’ for all 33 Russians with the departure date of July 25th was canceled from Kiev on July 20th! I.e., four days before the 24th, the organisers of the action assumed that all Russian citizens would remain in Belarus, and then end up in Ukraine.”
Our source in the security services also recalls that on July 30th, the day after the detention, the Ukrainian side surprisingly quickly prepared the extradition documents. Because they knew in advance who to issue them to. Or they were issued in advance. The question is, why is there a need for these papers if you are going to land the plane in Kiev?
The result is on the “scoreboard”
However, despite the obvious failure of this campaign, enthusiasts in Ukraine continue to call it unique and unrepeatable.
“And how do you assess it?” I asked the competent Russian authorities.
“This operation became widely known only because of its resounding failure and, so to speak, because of its large-scale international adventurous nature. Meanwhile, attempts to lure out people of interest in this way by the SBU were made earlier. For example, in 2018-2019, following the same scheme – the publication of ads for recruitment to work in Russian PMCs – temporary operational groups of the SBU in Donbass placed such ads on the Internet. By the way, the security agencies of the DPR and LPR informed the residents of the Republics in a timely manner. So that is nothing new. And in general: operations in intelligence and counterintelligence are not figure skating or rhythmic gymnastics, where the performance of complex elements is evaluated. Here success or failure is evaluated by the final result. It is necessary, like in hockey, to look at the scoreboard. And on it we can see today that Russian citizens are at home. The government in Kiev, including the SBU, does not know how to restore trust with the neighbouring country. In Ukraine itself, “looking for betrayal” right in the direction of President Zelensky. Everyone saw how the SBU can lie. The CIA overestimates the degree of trust in its Kiev colleagues. What is it if not a failure? We don’t know what the SBU and GUR called this operation between themselves, but the name ‘boomerang’ is very fitting for it: it was launched and returned.”
But still, can you tell us when the Russian side became aware of this operation?
“At a certain stage, which allowed us to return our citizens home safe and sound and solve a number of other tasks without compromising the security of our country.”
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