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Russia’s FSB arrests Ukrainian spy operating as an OSCE interpreter

According to the security service, the alleged Ukrainian spy collected information on the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) and helped other agents to infiltrate foreign missions

MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has said it detained a Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) agent who gathered military intelligence for Kiev while working as an interpreter for the OSCE monitoring mission in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).

Recruitment and spying activities

According to the FSB, while on the payroll at the OSCE mission in Lugansk, Ukrainian citizen Artyom Shestakov travelled to Kiev in the summer of 2015 where he was recruited by Sergei Slipchenko an employee of the Department for National Statehood Protection working for SBU’s covert operations unit. There he was given the code name, Svarog.

"On instructions from the Ukrainian Security Service, Shestakov gathered political, socio-economic and military-related information in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic. As a member of the international organization’s mission, Shestakov visited LPR government agencies and people’s militia deployment sites," the FSB public relations center said.

According to the Russian authorities, the Ukrainian agent handed over vital information to Kiev’s Security Service via the Internet, "specifically, he divulged data on the movement of military equipment and manpower, the locations of people’s militia units and their commanders’ telephone numbers to Kiev."

Links to Cossack leader’s murder

The FSB’s press service stated that in September 2015, representatives of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate got in touch with Shestakov through Ukraine’s Security Service. In October and November 2015, following instructions from Ukrainian military intelligence, Shestakov handed them details tracking the movements, car routes and telephone numbers of a Lugansk Cossack leader, Pavel Dryomov, who was later killed by the Ukrainian intelligence services. Mr. Dryomov died in a car blast in December 2015.

In addition, Shestakov helped other Ukrainian intelligence agents infiltrate various missions of international organizations in the country.

Using the OSCE mission as cover

"Confessions and materials obtained by the FSB’s counter-intelligence department from Artyom Shestakov explicitly prove that Ukraine’s security services are illegally using the OSCE mission, collecting defense-related information in the territory of the LPR and organizing acts of sabotage and terror," the FSB said. "These bare facts demonstrate that the Ukrainian security services are ignoring norms of international law."

"Taking into account the fact that Shestakov’s espionage activities have not damaged Russia’s security, in accordance with applicable law, he was released to Ukraine. However, the SBU informant has been banned from entering our country in the future," the FSB said.