May 30, 2023


The FSB of Russia reported that it had liquidated a sabotage and agent network of Ukrainian intelligence in Crimea. At the moment, 7 agents of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine have been detained. The vast majority of them are citizens of Ukraine and Russia at the same time – Viktor Podvalny, Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei Krivoshein, Konstantin Evmenenko, Igor Zorin and Sergei Voinarovsky. In addition to them, a citizen of Ukraine and Bulgaria, D. Petranov, was detained, who, at the moment when he was tied up, began to apologize to the FSB officers.

Most of the detained intruders are holders of dual citizenship of Ukraine and Russia.  Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

Most of the detained intruders are holders of dual citizenship of Ukraine and Russia. Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

Some of them were recruited relatively recently, but, for example, Podvalny was a regular military man and rose to the rank of colonel in Nezalezhnaya before retiring. Podvalny was recruited by a personal friend of the current head of the Main Intelligence Directorate Kirill Budanov, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Roman Mashovets, who is also an officer in the active reserve of the Main Intelligence Directorate, who arranged for him to travel to Krakow, Poland. And then Podvalny himself recruited the rest. In particular, as Krivoshein testified, he organized a direct assignment to monitor the mayor of Yalta on the orders of Podvalny and carried out this observation together with a partner.

Victor Podvalny.  Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

Victor Podvalny. Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

Everything was thought of in the group. Delivery systems, communication methods, distribution of functions. As the head of the Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said, “this is the same group that carried out the explosion on the railway line in Bakhchisarai 2 months ago.” He specifically noted that the group was carefully conspiratorial. Indeed, issues of conspiracy were given paramount importance. So, for example, Krivoshein testified during interrogation that he bought GPS trackers in a store, then posted them on an ad site, and from there they were bought out by another member of the agent network. Once again, the agents tried not to draw attention to themselves, and they tried to exclude direct contacts with each other.

A still from the video of the detention of Bulgarian citizen D. Petranov.  Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

A still from the video of the detention of Bulgarian citizen D. Petranov. Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

But what Aksyonov did not focus on was the fact that the agents were aimed at individual terror. Among the targets were the head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, the speaker of parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, the mayor of Yalta, Yanina Pavlenko, and the transport infrastructure of the peninsula. Although the head of Crimea admitted that he knew about the impending assassination attempt on him, he trusted the FSB.

Sergei Krivoshein during interrogation.  Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

Sergei Krivoshein during interrogation. Photo: TsOS FSB RF/TASS

As for the delivery of explosives for bombs, the route through Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia was involved here. It is noteworthy that a truck filled with explosives arrived on the Kerch (Crimean) Peninsula exactly along this route (with some changes), which blew up two lanes of the automobile section of the bridge last year. Ukrainian intelligence supplied its saboteurs along the already tested route and beyond. Explosives were placed inside ordinary household electric stoves, which were sent to Podvalny, Alexander Litvinenko and other points from Bulgaria by Ukrainian citizen “entrepreneur” Marina Matushchak. In the further delivery “in the dark” were involved Russian citizens who collaborated with the Bulgarian company Matushchak, and the delivery itself was carried out by two delivery companies. And this is also a characteristic detail, since busts of Soviet military leaders were recently sent to Russian military commissars and military experts by courier delivery with allusions to military commissar Vladlen Tatarsky, blown up by a similar bust. In principle, we can say that electric stoves were already bombs in themselves, which only needed to be armed. During the detention, the agents of this network were found and seized as a result of searches of 5 already assembled and ready IEDs, disguised as electric stoves, near Podvalny, in addition, military documents and awards of Ukraine were found. Apparently, they were covered just on the eve of the operation, the command to carry out which, on the eve of Victory Day on May 9, came to them from Kyiv.

But the FSB investigators, most likely, have already received an answer to this question, because during interrogations the detainees are filled with nightingales, betray each other and their leaders, since now this is their only chance to reduce their sentence, which will certainly be. Fortunately, a court in Crimea has already arrested them for the next two months.

KP expert Alexander Mikhailov, FSB major general (retired), police lieutenant general (retired):

– Alexander Georgievich, based on your experience, today’s detentions of Ukrainian saboteurs in Crimea are the result of a long development or?

– Only those who led the operation will be able to answer this question exactly. But it can be assumed that for some time our counterintelligence led them, but only until such time as they revealed all the connections and the entire group. Because there is no longer a need and opportunity to play for time, to rassol. As soon as all those involved were identified, they were immediately taken.

If you look at the routes of delivery of explosives now and when the Crimean bridge was blown up last year, it is hard not to notice their similarities. The FSB then hinted at the involvement of foreign intelligence services in the explosion on the bridge. Is it possible to assume that foreign special services are also related to the current history?

– Speculatively, we can assume anything. We need facts and evidence. On the one hand, Ukrainian military intelligence could independently carry out such delivery, on the other hand, providing “windows” at the border and guaranteeing the passage of goods with explosives through them may well be the “merit” of these special services. In such a case, guarantees are not superfluous.

– Isn’t it time for us to give an “answer” for such sabotage, to “mirror”, as they say?

– You see, we can say whatever we want. But here everything depends on two factors: the presence of an appropriate political will at the top. This time. And two – the availability of opportunities. We don’t know anything about the first, but as for the second, we must understand that the corresponding field on the other side is very tough and heavily cleared. And the necessary capabilities in the deep Ukrainian rear, most likely, are absent. This is not to send front-line DRGs.

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