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06/06/2023 | Ukraine is running networks of saboteurs inside Russia, report claims

Joseph Fitsanakis

THE UKRAINIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES are training and arming cells of saboteurs inside Russia, who are responsible for several acts of sabotage on Russian soil, including a recent attack on the Kremlin, according to CNN.

 

In an exclusive report published on Monday, the American television channel cited “multiple people familiar with US intelligence on” the activities of Ukrainian “agents and sympathizers” inside Russia.

According to the report, pro-Ukrainian saboteurs may be responsible for a growing number of incidents involving mysterious explosions, fires and malfunctions of Russian critical infrastructure. In recent months, such incidents have caused serious damage on Russian military warehouses, energy pipelines, fuel depots and refineries, railway networks, and military enlistment offices. Last month saw a widely reported attack by a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the Kremlin, which serves as the official residence of the Russian president in Moscow.

The CNN report claims that the UAV attack on the Kremlin, and possibly other similar incidents that have taken place inside Russia in recent months, represent the “culmination of months of effort” by the Ukrainian government. The latter has now allegedly assembled and is operating semi-autonomous sabotage cells inside Russia. These cells are said to consist of Ukrainian nationals operating in an undercover capacity, as well as of Russian nationals who sympathize with Ukraine. They also include Russians who are militantly opposed to the administration of President Vladimir Putin.

These cells have been “well-trained” in sabotage and have been provided with lethal hardware —including UAVs or UAV components— by the Ukrainian government, CNN said. These provisions reach the saboteurs through “well-practiced smuggling routes” that the Ukrainians have established across the Ukrainian-Russian border. The latter is “vast and very difficult to control”, and has been so for decades, according to the report. In most cases, the weaponry used in acts of sabotage is assembled and operated from within Russia, rather than from command centers in Ukraine, the CNN report claims.

The broad strategic parameters of the saboteurs Russia have reportedly been established by the highest echelons of the Ukrainian government, under the direct supervision of President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) officers who handle, train and arm the saboteurs have deliberately given them significant autonomy in terms of targeting and tactics. CNN said it contacted the Ukrainian government for comment on this report. The SBU did not confirm or deny that it was involved in handling cells of saboteurs inside Russia. However, a SBU spokesperson told CNN that “the mysterious explosions and drone strikes inside Russia would continue”.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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