The Washington Post reported on Oct. 23, citing undisclosed official sources, that Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) was allegedly behind dozens of assassinations against Russian targets since February 2022.
The news outlet writes that the Security Service's operations included the killing of Russian Navy officer Stanislav Rzhytskyi in Krasnodar and the bombing of a St. Petersburg cafe that killed Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky.
Intelligence obtained by the SBU allowed successful strikes on high-value military targets, killing several other Russian commanders and only narrowly missing Russia's top general, Valery Gerasimov, the news outlet said.
Ukraine reportedly attempted to strike at Gerasimov when he was visiting Russian troops in April. While senior high-ranking officers were said to have been killed in the attack, Gerasimov escaped with his life.
The New York Times reported earlier that U.S. intelligence asked Ukraine to call off the attempted strike at Gerasimov, fearing an escalation with Moscow. However, the message arrived too late, and the attack went ahead, the report said.
The Washington Post also writes that the car bombing that killed propagandist Darya Dugina was conducted by the SBU, while her father, ultranationalist Alexander Dugin, was the intended target of the attack.
Dugina died in a car bombing in August 2022 near Moscow.
The New York Times reported several months later that the Ukrainian government was responsible for her death, an accusation which Kyiv denied.
Dugina's father is a Russian ultranationalist currently wanted by the SBU for promoting genocide against Ukraine. His daughter was a well-known Russian propagandist.
The SBU's lethal operations have reportedly caused friction with the U.S. partners, who have been providing Ukraine's special services – both the SBU and the military intelligence, the HUR – with training and advanced equipment for years, the Washington Post's sources said.
The officials stressed that the U.S. intelligence had no involvement in the assassinations carried out by Ukrainian agencies and that their cooperation focused mainly on developing skills in gathering intelligence.
"We never involved our international partners in covert operations, especially behind the front lines," a former senior Ukrainian security official reportedly said.
The U.S. chief intelligence agency, the CIA, has several times voiced objections to Ukraine's lethal operations but has not withdrawn its support for its Ukrainian partners, the officials told the Washington Post.
"All targets hit by the SBU are completely legal," the Security Service's Head Vasyl Malyuk told the Washington Post, without referring to any concrete cases.
He nevertheless added that Ukraine "does everything to ensure that fair punishment will 'catch up' with all traitors, war criminals, and collaborators."