Ukraine: Putin tells nervous spy chief to 'sit down'
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In a conversation intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) a soldier reportedly tells his wife: “Everyone f***ked off here. There are six people left. Can you imagine? Nobody comes back. Everyone resigns. Everyone runs away.” The SBU claims troops take leave for family reasons and return home only to resign from their roles.
The Russian soldier tells his wife: “I’m boozing it up… Because I’m afraid. Everyone is boozing here.”
Ukraine’s security service said the drinking “trend” among enemy ranks “is observed more and more often”.
Express.co.uk has not been able to independently verify the recording or SBU’s statement.
The SBU on Tuesday reported Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had been carrying out intelligence and subversive activity inside Ukrainian government departments.
It said a special operation had “neutralised” the network, with the head of a unit of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and head of a directorate of Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry detained in Kyiv.
The officials stand accused of passing intelligence to the enemy about the state of Ukraine’s defence capabilities, its border and personal data of Ukrainian law enforcement officers.
Russian handlers reportedly paid the informants between £1,600 and £12,000 ($2,000 to $15,000) for each assignment, depending on the level of secrecy and value of the data gathered.
Two FSB officers allegedly recruited the unnamed official working with the Cabinet of Ministers in 2012 during a trip to Russia.
The official returned from the trip with a code name, mobile phone and task to collect secret information, according to the SBU.
To pass on the files, the alleged spy used a Telegram channel to arrange meetings with his handler, an employee of Ukraine’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The liaison agent was recruited in Moscow by FSB officers and received his instructions in the Simferopol, a city in Crimea which Russia annexed in 2014.
As of Thursday, the Kremlin had not commented on the SBU statement.
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The two suspects were shown sitting in front of a Ukrainian flag in a video released by the SBU.
They said they had collaborated with Moscow, but it was not clear whether they were speaking under duress.
One of the men said in the video he had received £27,000 ($33,000) for his activities while the other said he was paid £22,000 ($27,000).
It comes after Microsoft said in a report on Wednesday that Russian government hackers have carried out multiple cyber attacks on countries allied with Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.
In the past, Moscow has denied conducting foreign cyber espionage missions, saying it contradicts the principles of Russian foreign policy.
Researchers had already traced a number of destructive cyberattacks against Ukrainian entities to Russian state-backed hacking groups since the conflict began.
Microsoft’s report said researchers found 128 organisations in 42 countries outside Ukraine were also targeted by the same groups in stealthy, espionage-focused hacks.
Outside Ukraine, the US was the country most-targeted by such intrusion efforts, the report said, while NATO members states were also hit.
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