FSB counter-intelligence service’s detection of these plans also made it possible to strike a number of Ukrainian military facilities. Writes Drago Bosnic
On July 25, TASS news agency reported that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) managed to foil a Kiev regime’s military intelligence operation to hijack Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft. According to the FSB, the abortive operation was also aided and supervised by NATO intelligence services.
“The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation uncovered and stopped the operation of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine to hijack combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces, supervised by NATO special services (…) Ukrainian military intelligence officers, acting on behalf of the political leadership of their country, tried to recruit for a monetary reward and guarantees of receiving citizenship of one of the EU countries of Russian military pilots. To persuade them to fly and land aircraft at airfields controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the FSB’s Center for Public Relations (CPR) told TASS on Monday.
One of Russia’s top intelligence services also noted that its counter-intelligence service’s timely detection of these plans additionally made it possible to strike a number of strategically important Kiev regime’s military facilities. “In the course of the operation, Russian counterintelligence officers obtained information that helped our armed forces to strike a number of Ukrainian military facilities,” the FSB’s PR center reported. In addition, the Kiev regime intelligence operators involved in the foiled operation, as well as their accomplices, have been identified and detained.
Russian Aerospace Forces pilots were promised a reward of up to $2 million, in addition to receiving EU countries’ passports, along with their family members. They were expected to escape flying Russian military aircraft and land in areas controlled by the Kiev regime forces. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was also working with Ukrainian military intelligence and the plan was to hijack at least one Su-24 tactical bomber, Su-34 fighter-bomber and Tu-22M3 supersonic bomber/missile carrier from Russia, according to the FSB. Had the operation been successful, the Tu-22M3 would’ve been a particularly prized propaganda win for the Kiev regime, as the supersonic swing-wing jet is often seen as a strategic asset for the Russian Aerospace Forces, especially as it is capable of launching up to four 9-A-7660 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles. In comparison, the primary launch platform for the missile, the MiG-31K, can carry just one at a time.
Russian intelligence services conducted an intricate counter-intelligence operation, aided by Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). Apparently, Russian military pilots were included by presenting themselves as supposed defectors and managed to persuade the Kiev regime intelligence they were trying to escape in Russian aircraft. The operation worked after the Kiev regime operators took the bait. As a result, their entire intelligence network created for this purpose was more or less neutralized. In addition, this resulted in the positive identification of multiple key military facilities under the Kiev regime control, which the VKS then successfully targeted and destroyed.
The Kiev regime side also included their pilots in the operation. The pilots were giving exact instructions to their Russian counterparts, including maps, as well as providing key information on the location of the Kiev regime forces’ air defenses, including MANPADS. The SBU essentially created what the Kiev regime pilot called “safe entry points” which were supposed to make sure the defecting Russian aircraft were safe from being targeted by air defenses. This vital information was then used not only to ensure the supposedly defecting VKS aircraft reached those locations safely by avoiding enemy air defense systems, but also to successfully target those same air defenses and the key military infrastructure they were guarding.
In addition, according to a report by South Front, In order to gain the trust of Russian pilots, the Kiev regime intelligence operators acted unprofessionally, directly stating they were working for the SBU and even sharing their actual names, positions in the SBU, as well as their real whereabouts. They also asked the Russian pilots to shoot videos next to the aforementioned VKS aircraft as they wanted to make sure that the pilots’ claims were genuine and that they really had access to the specified aircraft. The pilots were also promised to be rewarded for the requested aircraft footage. The reward was to be handed over by couriers, supposedly girls recruited by the SBU and their NATO backers.
The most recent reports indicate that Christo Grozev was involved in the abortive operation. Grozev, apparently an MI6 asset, is a Bulgarian journalist working for the Netherlands-based “investigative” platform Bellingcat. Grozev directed the two female couriers, hired by the SBU. They met at a railway station in Lipetsk in western Russia to provide an advance payment of $4,000 for a Russian pilot who supposedly agreed to take part in the hijacking. However, they were unpleasantly surprised when it turned out the pilot was in fact working with the FSB to foil the operation.
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst.
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