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Suitcase, Train Station, Rostov
Andriy Yermak, Head of the President’s Office of Ukraine, is in a lot of trouble.
“The truth is that in 1918 I gave authorization to prepare this operation, which was the most difficult one in the history of the Ukrainian special services. The truth is that our intelligence services, in cooperation with Western partners, prepared it brilliantly, down to the smallest detail. And The bitter truth is that in the last hours before the arrest of the criminals, information about the operation was leaked from the President’s Office of Ukraine to Russia. In the summer of 2020, a year after I left office, this happened. And it is the direct responsibility of Volodymyr Zelensky," ex-President Petro Poroshenko said in a video posted to his Facebook account on March 4, 2021.
The years-long special operation by Ukraine’s security services to lure fighters from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) to Kyiv and arrest them failed, because someone from the President’s Office delayed, then cancelled it.
Some 33 of them assembled in Minsk for a flight to Turkey on July 25. The departure date was changed to July 30, and they all were arrested by Belarusian police on July 29. All but one of the men were sent back to Russia in August, despite Kyiv’s request to extradite them to Ukraine.
Many of the fighters, Russian and Ukrainian citizens, participated in Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine during 2014 and 2015. Some were involved in shooting down Ukrainian military planes and the MH17 Malaysian passenger airliner that was blown out of the sky in Donbas in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers on board.
Russian President Putin said the special operation was the brainchild of a joint U.S.-Ukrainian intelligence operation, but the head of President’s Office of Ukraine Andriy Yermak denied this.
“This is a detective story that was made up from A to Z,” Yermak said.
We know Yermak was lying because several Ukrainian intelligence officers have contradicted him under oath. Their testimony is classified.
Acting Director of the State Bureau of Investigations Oleksiy Sukhachev said in parliament on March 3, 2021 that Yermak is being questioned in its investigation into who leaked information about the caper. “We will have something to report in the near future,” he said.
Volunteer sleuths at BELLINGCAT have said they will issue a report about the special operation in March and produce a documentary film about it.