As a result of a multi-stage special operation, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) neutralized a sabotage and reconnaissance group of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces (better known as the GRU). The members of the group were preparing assassinations of the Ukrainian Defense Minister, the Chief of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate and a well-known Ukrainian activist.
According to the SBU, the group consisted of career employees of the Russian military intelligence. The group was headed by a resident of the occupied Luhansk, who previously fought against the Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine. It was he who, using his connections in criminal circles, following orders of the coordinator from Moscow, was looking for a killer to commit contract killings. He found a Kyiv resident who for $5,000, agreed to kill a Ukrainian soldier. The soldier’s killing was supposed to be a "test run" before the main task.
The organizer decided to personally come to Ukraine-controlled territory to oversee the assassinations of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the Chief of the Ukrainian military intelligence. Here, together with the accomplice, they were supposed to prepare a plan for "elimination" and submit it for approval to their bosses in Russia. In order to disguise his travel routes, the criminal entered Ukraine through the territory of Belarus. SBU officers monitored his arrival in the Volyn region through the Domanove checkpoint and a subsequent meeting with the accomplice.
The SBU counterintelligence officers detained both would-be killers in Kovel. Evidence showing intent to carry out the killings and also a Russian passport were found in the possession of the criminals. They were detained on charges of treason and premeditated murder. They are now in custody and awaiting trial.
"The enemy cannot win on the battlefield, so they resort to their usual methods. They try to organize assassination attempts on the military and Ukrainian officials. And this once again proves to the whole world that Russia is a terrorist state that does not comply with any civilized rules. But we understand what can be expected from Russia, and we act preemptively and neutralize the enemy's special operations in advance," said Vasyl Malyuk, acting head of the SBU.