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FSB thwarts sabotage activities plotted by Ukrainian special services

The FSB has apprehended two Ukrainian agents, who arrived in Russia to collect information and take photos and videos of strategically important enterprises and transportation infrastructure

MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has prevented the intelligence and sabotage activities plotted by the Ukrainian special services.

"The FSB has suppressed the intelligence and sabotage activities carried out by the Ukrainian Security Service in three Russian regions," the federal service told TASS on Thursday. The FSB noted that additional active search and investigative measures were underway.

Collecting data

The FSB has apprehended two Ukrainian agents, Zinoviy Koval, born in 1974, and his son Igor Koval, born in 1999, who arrived in Russia to collect information and take photos and videos of strategically important enterprises and transportation infrastructure. According to the FSB, "the detainees confessed that they had been recruited by a current employee of the Ukrainian Security Service, Colonel Vasily Kovalik <…>, who instructed them to collect data on strategic locations for a $10,000 reward." The Russian federal agency also reported that handguns, automatic weapons and personal protective equipment, found in the suspects’ car, were sent for further examination.

Furthermore, the Russian federal agency unveiled a video recording of confessions from the Ukrainian spies. "I was instructed to take pictures of Russian railroad and road bridges as well as a thermal power plant," Igor Koval said.

Plotting terrorist attack

Also, the security apprehended an operative of Ukraine’s military intelligence for plotting to carry out a terrorist attack in Russia. The detainee, Alexander Viktorovich Tsilyk, born in 1998, is a resident of the Kiev Region. "He confessed that he was recruited and followed the instructions of Lieutenant Colonel Maksim Leonidovich Kirilovets, born in 1988, sector chief and taskforce member belonging to the operational department of the special reserve at the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense," the FSB press office stated.

The saboteur was supposed to detonate two homemade explosive devices containing 1.5 kg of TNT. To carry out this mission, he first arrived in Russia together with Kirilovets and two military intelligence officers to set up a hideout and weapons stash and transport the explosive devices. "Upon his return to Russia, Tsilyk was caught red-handed with the said weapons as he headed to the scene of the crime," the Russian federal agency revealed. "We have received evidence confirming the terrorist designs of Ukraine’s military intelligence against facilities on our country’s soil," the FSB press service reported.

During the interrogation, Tsilyk revealed that he was trained to work with hiding places, special liaison, to detect outdoor surveillance and ground navigation. "I was entrusted to commit a terrorist attack but was detained," he stated.

Court verdict

Furthermore, a Russian court sentenced Sergey Shvidenko, an operative of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s spy agency, to six and a half years in jail for overseeing a sabotage plot in Crimea. ‘’Based in Ukraine, Shvidenko coordinated the training and supervised a sabotage group that was sent to Russia," the Federal Security Service disclosed. In 2016, the group’s members, which included four officers of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Chief Intelligence Directorate and a local asset, were taken into custody, the FSB said. They were given orders and drew up plans to blow up a tower belonging to a radio and television transmission center in Crimea, a mobile gas-fired power plant, a fuel warehouse and a radio tower of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, according to the security service. The names of the agents are Dmitry Shtyblikov, Alexey Stogny, Gleb Shably, Alexey Bessarabov and the name of the asset is Vladimir Dudka, the FSB revealed.

Russian security agents nabbed Shvidenko in July 2021, and he confessed to hatching a sabotage plot in Russia under the direction of Colonel Nikolay Spodar, who headed the South Unit of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Chief Intelligence Directorate, according to the FSB.

An investigation has fully established the guilt of the former Ukrainian military intelligence operative, and in November 2021 a court considered the evidence submitted by the FSB, and consequently convicted Captain 1st Rank Shvidenko of plotting to commit crimes against the security of Russia, sentencing him to six and a half years in a maximum-security prison, the FSB stated.