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Russia's special forces saboteurs working in Ukraine and EU exposed

Russia's special forces saboteurs working in Ukraine and EU exposed Illustrative photo (Russian media)
Author: Maria Kholina

Ukraine's Security Service (SSU) and the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) have exposed the command structure and key operatives of Russia's elite special forces. These operatives were involved in high-profile sabotage not only within Ukraine but also in European Union countries, according to the SSU.

"The Security Service and SBI have identified individuals from the entire command structure and key personnel of one of Russia's most secretive special services, the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Federation," the statement read.

Among those identified are the current commander, Major General Valerii Flyustikov, and former Putin bodyguard Alexei Dyumin, who held the position of commander of the Russian special forces' Main Intelligence Directorate in 2014.

These Russian special service personnel have been implicated in high-profile killings and sabotage on the territory of Ukraine and the European Union, including the explosion at a military facility in Czechia.

Working in cooperation with Czech partners, SSU and SBI investigators have established the involvement of Russia's Special Operations Forces in the 2014 explosion at an arms depot in Vrbětice, Czechia.

"By doing so, the Kremlin sought to weaken the defensive potential of NATO's eastern flank and destabilize the political situation in Central Europe," added the SSU.


Under Kremlin orders in 2015, these special service representatives organized an explosion at a combined missile and artillery ammunition depot of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Svatove, Luhansk region.

According to the investigation, Russian special forces used the Leer-3 electronic warfare system with three Orlan-10 drones for the sabotage operation. On October 29, 2015, this weaponry was transported from the temporarily occupied Donetsk to the front lines of the Russian people's militias in Ukraine near the city of Pervomaisk in the Luhansk region. From there, the aggressors launched drones towards the Ukrainian Armed Forces' depot in Svatove. As the drones approached the target, they dropped incendiary grenades with a parachute system.

The explosion at the depots resulted in the detonation of the entire stockpile of ammunition stored there.

Following full-scale intrusions, Russian Special Operations Forces periodically attack positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in border areas in the north and east of Ukraine.

During these operations, these Special Reconnaissance Groups attempt to target Ukrainian Armed Forces and Border Guard Service personnel and sabotage their military installations. Often, the targets of these enemy saboteurs include local civilian residents, their homes, and vehicles.

Subordinate to Putin

Due to the specific nature of their missions, Special Operations Forces report to the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, but in certain cases - directly to Putin.

SSU investigators have identified all individuals involved in the aforementioned crimes against Ukraine and EU member states.

Based on the collected evidence, both suspects and 25 other representatives of Russia's Special Operations Forces, as well as their accomplices among the Russian people's militias in Ukraine, have been charged under Article 113 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (sabotage).

As previously reported, the Czech government does not consider the 2014 explosions at military depots, apparently orchestrated by Russian special services, as acts of state terrorism. The munitions belonged to a private firm.

Also, Czechia has expelled 18 employees of the Russian embassy, stating that the investigation has established a connection between Russian intelligence and the 2014 explosion at the ammunition depot.