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Czechia places Russian GRU general linked to ammunition depot blasts on wanted list

by Martin Fornusek May 10, 2024 10:45 PM 2 min read
Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Major General Andrey Averyanov attends a meeting on July 29, 2023, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Czech authorities placed Russian military intelligence (GRU) Major General Andrey Averyanov on the country's wanted list, Seznam Zpravy reported on May 10.

The country's investigators believe that Averyanov coordinated the supposed Russian sabotage operation in 2014 that led to ammunition depot explosions in the eastern Czech town of Vrbetice, killing two people and causing damages in tens of millions of dollars.

The wanted notice was published on the Czech police's website, indicating that the search was declared on May 7.

Averyanov is the commander of the notorious GRU Unit 29155, associated with assassinations and destabilization operations outside of Russia. The unit was also reportedly behind the poisoning of ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K. in 2018.

The Czech police concluded the investigation into Vrbetice blasts last week, saying that Russian operatives were responsible for the sabotage.

Media reports emerged in 2021 that the ammunition was supposed to be transferred either to Ukraine or to Syria, reportedly for the Syrian opposition battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Russia. The company that owned the supplies disputed these claims.

The Insider investigative outlet reported on April 29 that two Russian-born Czech citizens, Nikolay and Elena Saposnikov, aided Moscow's agents in the operation.

Russian GRU unit linked to mysterious attacks on US officials abroad
A collaborative investigation by The Insider uncovered evidence linking the mysterious health condition known as the Havana Syndrome to members of Russia’s military intelligence agency. GRU Unit 29155 reportedly used directed energy weapons to target overseas U.S. government personnel.
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