Eyes on the Spies: U.S. Intelligence Seeing Russian Spies and Saboteurs Infiltrating Ukraine

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake reports:  Moscow claims it hasn’t invaded anyone. That’s because Russia is slipping into Ukraine special units of spies and saboteurs, senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast.
In the run-up to Russia’s paramilitary invasion of Crimea, U.S. intelligence saw Vladimir Putin’s saboteurs and mercenaries coming, and not stopping at Crimea either.

“This is the use of deniable special operators under GRU control to create provocations and really these are quasi-deniable operations.”

— John Schindler, a retired NSA counter-intelligence officer

During the last week of February, a summary of U.S. intelligence reporting said there was a very low chance that the ordinary Russian troops doing military exercises on Ukraine’s border were going to invade the country, according to a description of the document by a senior American official. But the intel report did predict accurately that Russian special operations forces would do all they could to reunite Crimea with Russia—and cause trouble in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia’s activities in Crimea have been widely described in the west as an invasion. But while some Russian military forces did cross into Ukrainian territory,  the Moscow government still claims that all of its military forces in Crimea are abiding by the terms of its agreement with Ukraine.

This, U.S. officials believe, is because Russia is invading Ukraine with its Spetsnaz—the special operations units and battalions attached to both the military and the country’s intelligence agencies.

An American intelligence report predicted that Russian provocateurs would look to instigate low-level street brawls or “skirmishes” in eastern and southern Ukraine.

U.S. intelligence officials now say Russia’s Spetsnaz  are expanding into eastern and southern Ukraine, as well. The intelligence report from February assessed that Russian provocateurs would look to instigate low-level street brawls or “skirmishes” in eastern and southern Ukraine. The report also  predicted that Russia’s shadow warriors would seek to pay off Ukrainians to attend pro-Russian rallies and in general fan the flames of separatism. And since then, eyewitnesses say, that’s exactly what’s happened.

One U.S. official said the U.S. military intelligence analysts suspect elements of the 45th Spetsnaz regiment of Russia’s military intelligence service known as the GRU were conducting the provocations in Ukraine. On Thursday the White House added Igor Sergun, the 57 year old chief of the GRU, along with 19 others to a list of Russian officials sanctioned for the invasion of Crimea…Read the rest….

The Daily Beast

 


2 Comments on “Eyes on the Spies: U.S. Intelligence Seeing Russian Spies and Saboteurs Infiltrating Ukraine”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake reports: Moscow claims it hasn’t invaded anyone. […]


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