Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has exposed the spy ring of the Chief Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Donbas as 112 Ukraine reported citing Head of Military Counterintelligence of SBU Serhiy Levchenko.
According to him, the significant growth of the activity of the group of the spy ring named “Sapphire” is observed on the eve of the Ukrainian elections. The main tasks assigned by the Russian curator to the members of the spy group was the preparation and holding of the anti-Ukrainian information campaigns; gathering and analysis of the information about the senior leadership of Ukraine, Armed Forces and other military formations and gathering of the intelligence information about forces and means involved in the Joint Forces Operation.
Particularly, the members of the group prepared and spread fake data on the social networks to discredit the senior military-political leadership of Ukraine. For example, the fake order of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine about supposedly stop of the assessment of all extra payments for the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was prepared.
“The Military Counterintelligence of SBU has identified the curator of this information detachment consisted of the career staff of the Chief Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Sazonov (code name - Pavel Bodrov),” Levchenko said.
It was also established that 15 members of the illegally armed formation of the so-called “People’s Militia of “Luhansk People’s Republic,” who stay in the temporarily occupied territories enter “Sapphire.” It is headed by Ukrainian Kateryna Vasyleva recruited by the Russian Military Intelligence.
At the moment, the workers of the service detained four agents of this group. The criminal investigation was launched.
As it was reported, expectations are high that Russia will attempt to interfere in the upcoming Ukrainian presidential elections, scheduled for March 31.
Besides, Ukraine’s Security Service detained Deputy Head of Kharkiv City Council Department under suspicion of cooperation with Russian special services.