For months it has been obvious to those who wish to see that Russian intelligence stands behind the campaign of espionage, terrorism, propaganda, and covert action (including raising and arming rebel militias), which I have termed Special War, that is being waged by Vladimir Putin against Ukraine. I’ve written about this murky matter several times. After the recent election of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s president, the Kremlin’s efforts to terrorize and coerce its neighbor have only increased, and evidence of Russian intelligence involvement has mounted by the day.
Recently, U.S. officials have confirmed widespread rumors that the shadowy paramilitary boss Igor Girkin (AKA Strelkov), who has been a major figure in the campaign to destabilize Ukraine and serves as the defense minister of the self-proclaimed (and Moscow-backed) “Donetsk People’s Republic” in southeast Ukraine, is actually a Russian military intelligence (GRU) colonel. GRU special operators have been deeply involved in the seizure of Crimea and continuing efforts to terrorize and destabilize eastern Ukraine.
Today, in an interview with the Kyiv newspaper Den, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the director of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), elaborated just how large a role Russian intelligence, particularly the powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), is playing in Putin’s effort to destabilize and intimidate Kyiv into submission. Nalyvaychenko explained that the FSB stands behind Russia’s entire anti-Ukraine campaign, choosing the Kremlin’s strategy and operations, and the SBU has detained several Russian intelligence operatives in eastern Ukraine recently, including over ninety “terrorists and saboteurs,” among them thirteen Russian nationals – “mercenaries and professional intelligence officers, agents.” He said that the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s on-going Special War operations in eastern Ukraine were planned long before this spring, with the full collaboration of Ukraine’s previous government.
Although it has been widely known that, during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, the SBU was deeply penetrated by the FSB, with Russian officers actually holding positions inside Ukrainian intelligence, Nalyvaychenko stated that even he did not realize how bad the situation was until recently. There is a major hunt afoot now for pro-Kremlin agents inside the SBU since, the director explained, “from December 2013 until the end of February 2014, three groups of high-ranking FSB officers worked in the SBU. During these months, all modern arms, files, archives, everything that forms a basis for a professional intelligence service, were transferred to Simferopol” in Crimea.
The SBU has severed all ties with Russian intelligence – under Yanukovych, Ukraine’s spies functioned as an extension of the FSB – but it will be some time before this massive penetration is undone; it is no longer mysterious why so many recent Ukrainian military operations to root out separatists in the Donetsk area have fallen short of expectations, since the pro-Russian paramilitaries know they are coming. The first task at hand must be detecting and neutralizing Russian spies and provocateurs inside Ukraine’s defense and security system, and that is now underway, though it will take years to get this problem under control, given the daunting extent of Kremlin penetration.
Kyiv, finally, is also fighting back on the propaganda front, where the Russians have been highly active, and today 5 Kanal TV (which is owned by Poroshenko) showed a video, provided by the SBU, of an interview with a “terrorist” recently captured near Slovyansk. Though his face was obscured, the prisoner, said to be named Mykola Viktorovych, explained that he was recruited by the FSB to fight as a mercenary for the “Donetsk People’s Republic.” After training, he was paid an advance of 200,000 rubles (about USD 5,000), and he said the volunteers were promised bonuses of USD 300 for every Ukrainian soldier they killed and USD 1,000 for each officer. He was then given a train ticket to Luhansk and sent to war. As he stated:
I was told that there were a lot of our Russian guys here, who had been sent here earlier. They told me not to be scared. But I do not believe in this war. I condemn the Putin regime for starting this war between our peoples. Please forgive me if you can.
This story is far from over, but it is encouraging that Kyiv at last is fighting back against the FSB and Putin’s Special War. If Ukraine expects to survive, there is no choice.
The Ukrainians want immigration rights to Western Europe, but what they don’t understand is that EU membership will bring massive colored immigration to Ukraine. Yechh! Also, Monsanto is dreaming of putting Ukrainian agriculture undre it’s GMO crop control. When I visited Ukraine in 2012, food was actually labeld “bez GMO” or “without GMO.”
To hell with the EU and the neocons and Soros Open Society institute and color(ed) revolutions! If I was visiting Ukraine now, I’d join the Donetsk Republic Army!
^ Wannabe troll of the ‘SVR Active Measures’ (haha)
Post a link to fund your trip — I suspect plenty of people would donate to help you die in some Obskuratorsk.
If you really think that being a disgusting racist is going to recruit people to your cause you’re a very twisted individual.
@mindweapon: I thought FSB aren’t allowed to drink during the day.
Maybe he’s stationed in Kamchatka and got so plastered after his shift, that he now thinks he’s still on duty? Eight hours ahead of Moscow time, seems plausible.
Your exactly what were fighting against mindweapon we want a just and equal world
oh please. Go back to the 19th century where you belong.
Thank you again for the excellent article. It’s good to see a rational voice amongst the mountains of shills who insist that this, all of this, is somehow a “U.S Conspiracy.”
That’s been the most depressing thing about all of this; it was Russia, under a revanchist Putin, that precipitated this, aiming to undo the results of the Cold War………..and yet there are, literally, legions of people in both the Americas, U.K, and western Europe, who have lapped up the propaganda, screaming–despite the elections, despite the curiously prolific advanced weaponry given to the “donetsk republic,”–that Poroshenko is merely a “U.S puppet,” and the Victoria Nuland commentary is “evidence” of this. It makes me sick, and I can’t make heads or tails of it. Why, for crying out loud, would anyone think that because, the U.S has had its fair share of interventions, Russia is automatically justified in its imperialism and revanchism. I really do want someone to explain this to me.
With that out of the way, what do you think Poland and the other states that were formerly part of the USSR will do–latvia and estonia among them–if Putin actually does make an open attempt to invade Ukraine proper and remove Kiev from the equation?
Thanks for your feedback. It is indeed depressing to watch much of his saga unfold….the good news, such as it is, being that Putin has no interest in a Big War for Ukraine, so the odds of that, while not zero, are low …at least for now.
A concise, accurate and well developed essay. Ukraine is unfortunately the Poster Child for Putin’s Special War. I can think of very few countries that border directly with the RF and have decades of history of intertwined military, industrial, and security sectors. The depth and breadth of RF penetration of UA’s state security organs being perhaps the worst part. This along with Yanuk’s looting of the country’s wealth and hollowing of its military put Ukraine at a starting position of somewhere less than zero at the outset of the Crimean Anschluss. Given these almost crippling handicaps Ukraine has persevered in the face of this Russian insurgency and has possibly gained momentum in dealing with its war in the East. In the face of this heroic steadfastness the West has mainly paid lip service to the democratic aspirations of this nation that is being quartered and devoured by its ruthless neighbor. I hope it is not a perpetual litany of too little too late…
Thank you…obviously I agree. This is a bad situation, all down the line,
Wenn der Topp aber nu ä Loch hat, lieber Heinrich, lieber Heinrich, …
(Snowden können auch andere.)
First comment apparently went south, so again:
There’s a massive flow of Kremlin internals coming out and it’s not sure, how much of it is authentic and how much is embedded payload. The blog’s author promised pretty juicy stuff on negotations between Poroshenko, Putin and NATO would follow.
Some one is hitting back for sure.
(Snowden können auch andere.)
Got it — danke sehr!
#Kosovo. Right now and soon on Russia Today. Just sayin’.
(Und wir werden solange marschieren…)
Everything should stop
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