On May 1, the security service of Ukraine – SBU (for Sluschba bespeky Ukrajiny) for short – reported on a Russian terrorist attack that it was able to prevent. A Russian sabotage reconnaissance group is said to have been in the country. Ukrainian units are said to have tracked them down and eliminated them. The secret group had the order to shoot down a passenger plane over Russia or Belarus with a Stinger air defense system developed by the USA. After that, the Kremlin would have blamed the terrorist attack on Ukraine and its allies and held them publicly responsible.
Literally, the report from the security service says: “The SBU conducted a large-scale special operation in which it neutralized a well-trained enemy sabotage and disruption group. The agents of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces were planning an act of terrorism: they wanted to shoot down a passenger plane over Russian or Belarusian territory.”
The group of agents received the order to steal the portable anti-aircraft systems and transport them across the border. “To commit the provocation, the attackers intended to fire a Stinger-type Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) at the civilian aircraft.”
According to the intelligence service, the group of agents consisted of two people with dual nationality and one employee recruited by them. The activity was coordinated by the Russian Oleksandr Tjuterev, an employee in the main directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. He has been found to have previously been involved in planning a series of terrorist attacks in the Odessa region and has therefore already been investigated.
According to the SBU, the agents disguised themselves as “patriotic volunteers” and thus established contacts with the Ukrainian armed forces. In order to establish “trustful” relationships, they provided the Ukrainian military with reliable information on the positions and movements of the garrison units of the so-called “Kadyrovites” (pro-Russian Chechen fighters). The SBU says they wanted to use the contacts they made to acquire MANPADS and then pass them on to Russia. But that was prevented by the Ukrainian agents of the SBU. They arrested all members of the sabotage group during the special operation.
Some observers expect more such actions. Attacks on European soil would also be conceivable, for which Russia and Ukraine would then blame each other. A drone had already made it to Croatia and crashed in Zagreb – the eXXpress reported. It is still unclear to this day whether Russia or Ukraine is behind it, and it is also unclear whether the action was planned or an accident.
The Russian OSCE mission, meanwhile, draws attention to another risk: “The uncontrolled circulation of weapons delivered to Kyiv, including MANPADS and other missile systems, will pose a threat to European security in the future, including civilian transport,” she underlines in a tweet. As you can see, there is enough evidence for both warring parties to blame such attacks on the other.