May 27, 2024

Athens News

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SBU against the Ukrainian military, or an unsuccessful attempt to hijack a Russian plane

The Security Service of Ukraine opened a case against the Ukrainian military, who planned to hijack a Russian plane, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

The Ukrainian military and law enforcement officers lured a military aircraft out of Russia for several months. The enemy pilot, who agreed to cooperate, did not fly in the end. The Kremlin was simultaneously playing its own game, trying to find out secret data for itself. What actually happened then, and why did the SBU initiate a case against the Ukrainian military?

Everything happened between April and July 2022, tells “Ukrainian Truth”. A group of several men, which included a Special Operations Forces soldier, ex-intelligence officer Roman Chervinsky, a civilian IT specialist, representatives of the Ukrainian Air Force and the SBU, developed a plan. They tried to recruit a Russian military pilot and fly the SU-34 aircraft to Ukraine.

Their carefully crafted plan assumed that the Russian pilot would be given a “square” in which he would fly into Ukrainian airspace at a specified time. Then he had to inform the dispatchers about the accident. After that, Ukraine would report the capture of the pilot, and the Russian and his family would receive new documents and the agreed amount of money.

During the preparation of the operation, the Ukrainian military and security forces elicited information from Russian pilots about who gives them orders, where they perform their tasks, who oversees their work, and so on. But at the same time, the Russian special services were playing their own game, trying, in turn, to extract secret information from the Ukrainian military. The participants in the planned operation to hijack the aircraft claim that they did not give out any data to the enemy, and the operation was agreed upon in the Security Service and the General Staff.

Realizing that the Russians were playing their own game, the Ukrainians decided to concentrate more on obtaining secret information from them: they asked the pilot about where he works, who gives him instructions, established who he communicates with, where and what criminal orders he carries out.

During the operation, the Russian pilot was supposed to land on the plane on July 23 at the Kanatovo airfield near Kropyvnytskyi. But… the pilot didn’t fly. Between 5:00 and 5:45 in the area near Kropyvnytskyi – from it to the airfield 15 kilometers – explosions were heard. Later, the authorities reported that on that day the enemy fired 13 missiles into the region: “calibers” and “Kh-22”. The official investigation, the data of which was obtained by the UP, says that that morning 8 cruise missiles hit Kanatovo. One soldier was killed in this attack. 17 people received moderate or light injuries, including employees of the State Emergency Service. Buildings and some military equipment were damaged.

The events of the operation were publicly confirmed by investigative journalist Khristo Grozev, who recorded the communication of the military with the Russians, and the source of the publication in the Main Intelligence Directorate. As it turned out, the initiators of the operation really applied to the GUR for cooperation, but they refused, considering the idea unpromising.

In August 2022, the Security Service of Ukraine opened criminal proceedings under the articles “high treason” and “abuse of power.” Their punishment reaches life imprisonment. According to the investigation, the military Chervinsky did not coordinate the operation with intelligence, i.e. exceeded his powers. According to the SBU, he independently sent the military to the airfield to meet the aircraft.

At the request of “UP” the Security Service refused to give details of the case, referring to the secrecy of the investigation. The Special Operations Forces did not respond to the publication’s request for comment. The president’s office, whom ex-intelligence officer Chervinsky accuses of pressure, declined to comment.

After the release of the material, the SBU provided Ukrayinska Pravda with additional a comment. The security forces say: from the shelling, which “provoked the unauthorized actions of individual servicemen”, the commander of the military unit was killed, 17 defenders were injured, 2 combat fighters were completely destroyed, the runway and other equipment were significantly damaged, buildings were significantly damaged. The operation, according to the SBU, “was carried out despite the remarks of the SBU and without the consent of the relevant state bodies,” and the enemy allegedly received information about the deployment of the Air Force personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ukrainian aircraft.

Chervinsky himself calls the persecution politically motivated. He connects him with “Wagnergate” – a thwarted operation in 2020 to detain militants of PMC “Wagner”. He was one of the intelligence officers who organized an operation in 2020 to detain Russian militants of the Wagner group, luring them to Belarus. There, the Wagnerites were supposed to board a plane, which the Ukrainian special services would later crash-land in Ukraine. The operation failed, the departure of the “Wagnerites” was postponed, they were detained in Minsk.

Having received publicity, the story began to be called “Wagnergate”. Several intelligence officers publicly accused the Office of the President of pressuring and disrupting the operation. Among them was Chervinsky. He, along with several colleagues, had his passports canceled and was fired from intelligence.

With regard to the attempted hijacking of a Russian plane, one thing can already be said for sure: a few brave Ukrainians really challenged the Russian reconnaissance vehicle. “The entire intelligence service of the FSB fought with its teeth against a handful of, in fact, volunteers. And not for the first time,” Hristo Grozev wrote on Twitter.

If the government has undertaken to judge the actions of these volunteers according to the Criminal Code, it should be ready to give answers to some questions itself. If the operation really was not coordinated, how did it happen that one military man was able to lead fighters from different units? And why didn’t the leadership of a single department stop a handful of “enthusiasts” during 4 months of preparation?



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