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Ukraine’s Security Service uncovers suspected Russian spy in its ranks
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reported on Jan. 26 that they detained a lieutenant colonel in their ranks on suspicion of high treason.
The lieutenant colonel is accused of conducting intelligence operations and passing state secrets to Russian contacts. According to the SBU statement, he used his personal mobile phone to photograph documents with layout schemes of military checkpoints in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and sent the information via an email account registered on a Russian domain to Russian contacts.
Ukraine’s Security Service also seized mobile phones, SIM cards issued by Russian mobile carriers, cash, and other evidence during the suspect’s detention. Their investigation is ongoing.
Since the start of the invasion, Ukraine’s Security Service has initiated investigations into more than 2,000 criminal proceedings against suspected collaborators. However, there still remains the issue of routing out collaborators from within the ranks of the SBU itself and other government agencies.
Back in July of 2022, the parliament voted to support President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to dismiss the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, Ivan Bakanov, for failing to effectively perform his duties. Upon firing him, Zelensky said that after the start of the full-scale invasion, more than 60 staff members from the Security Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office had remained in Russian-occupied territory and collaborated with Russians.
In August 2022, the Security Service detained a Russian spy in their Kharkiv office. He was accused of passing along information on the activity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to Russian contacts. The suspect was also found to be coordinating a Russian attack on the Security Service facilities in Kharkiv.
One of the stranger cases involving the SBU took place in March 2022. Denys Kirieiev, a Ukrainian businessman and a member of the Ukrainian delegation during negotiations early on in the invasion, was allegedly killed in Kyiv inside a Security Service vehicle. His death was initially reported as the killing of a Russian agent. According to recent interviews by Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ukrainian military intelligence, Kirieiev was a Ukrainian intelligence agent. Budanov openly claimed that SBU killed him, but couldn't say why. One advisor to President Zelensky’s administration later said that Kireiev's death was due to “poor communication” between Ukrainian secret services at the start of the invasion.