RUSSIAN SUBVERSION IN EASTERN UKRAINE

Washington Times on March 19, 2014, reported on growing Russian subversion in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s military forces are not the only problem for Ukraine: Reports from the region indicate that Russian saboteurs are working to foment instability and increase pro-Russian sentiment, especially in the eastern part of the former Soviet republic. Excerpts below:

Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko told reporters in Kiev that security services are seeking to counter Russian sabotage groups in the southern and eastern regions.

Mr. Petrenko said intelligence has identified “specially trained sabotage groups for destabilizing the situation in the southern and eastern regions.” The groups are engaged in subversion, he said.

“At present, Ukraine’s security services are working out special measures for the liquidation and detention of these sabotage groups that are operating in the east,” Mr. Petrenko said, according to the Kiev online news outlet Ukrainska Pravda.

The Security Service of Ukraine, internal security forces known as SBU, told the Unian news agency that it had captured a Russian GRU military intelligence officer as part of a sweep of subversives.

The agent was arrested at a checkpoint near Kherson, north of Crimea, and was armed with an AKC-74 assault rifle and five magazines. He was dressed in the black uniform of the Russian special operations forces but without any Russian military insignia.

“The foreigner had on him several IDs issued for different names,” the security service said in a statement. “The SBU obtained a document confirming that the detainee is an employee of the military intelligence of the Russian Armed Forces.”

The service said the Russian was engaged in intelligence gathering and subversion in the Kherson region.

Military analysts said the captured commando is likely part of the two main military forces that took over the Crimea in early March. Those forces have been identified as elements of Russian 76th Guards Air Assault Division, based in Pskov near St. Petersburg, and a GRU special operations unit based at Kubinka, near Moscow.

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