The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has arrested seven members of a sabotage and reconnaissance group from Russia who were behind a number of terrorist attacks, SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak announced at a press conference.
“The SBU has halted the activity in our national territory of a seven-person sabotage and reconnaissance terrorist group belonging to the Russian intelligence services. They have all been arrested,” he said.
According to Hrytsak, since the start of 2017, several such groups have come to Ukraine from Russia and the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), tasked with the assassination of various Ukrainian political figures and intelligence officers.
The SBU has information that one such group committed an act of terror on 27 June 2017 which resulted in the death of military intelligence Colonel Maxym Shapoval. The investigation determined that the explosive device had been planted in the colonel’s vehicle by Donetsk resident Shutov O.M., who worked for the so-called “DPR Special Operations Center”.
The group is also considered responsible for attempting to blow up the vehicle of another Ukrainian military intelligence officer in Kyiv. However, in this particular incident, the perpetrator, who was also the leader of the sabotage group, got caught in the blast when the bomb exploded prematurely.
“These were joint operations by the Russian Federal Security Service and Russian military intelligence,” the SBU chief observed.
Hrytsak also mentioned the name of the sabotage group’s ringleader: Komarychev Alexey, a Russian citizen born in 1978 and a permanent Moscow resident. He clarified that Komarychev is alive and currently in pre-trial custody.
On 27 June 2017, a vehicle exploded in Kyiv, killing Colonel Maxym Shapoval, the leader of a Ukrainian military intelligence division. According to media reports, Shapoval was the commander of a deep intelligence group and was responsible for gathering proof of Russia’s involvement in armed aggression against Ukraine.
In the early morning hours of 4 April 2019, a bomb went off in a car belonging to a Ukrainian intelligence officer. The bomb detonated prematurely while being planted. At the time, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported that the perpetrator had died from his wounds in hospital, although this report was later refuted.