The Bellingcat investigator compares the tactics of the Ukrainian special services with a special operation to detain Wagner PMC mercenaries in Minsk. Thanks to a mistake by the FSB, it was possible to find out the data of dozens of counterintelligence officers of the Russian Federation, their methods of work and secret agents.
The operation to hijack Russian combat aircraft, which was “carried out by the intelligence of Ukraine under the control of NATO countries”, has become one of the craziest counterintelligence operations of all times. Hristo Grozev, an investigative journalist for the Bellingcat project, wrote about this on Twitter.
The journalist is referring to the FSB report on the suppression of the alleged operation of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine to hijack combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. According to the Russian secret services, the navigator of the hijacked aircraft was planned to be poisoned with clonidine.
“With the help of traditionally falsified “evidence” and a free interpretation of the facts, the FSB accused me of being involved in a plot to hijack aircraft (pictured: a completely falsified message, of course I never had a UK number)” he wrote.
According to Grozev, in reality, the “operation” was a serious mistake of the FSB, thanks to which the data of dozens of officers were revealed counterintelligence, their methods of work and secret agents.
“Aircraft hijacking” – the story is similar to the detention of Wagner PMC mercenaries in Belarus
The journalist compared the counter-operation with a special operation to capture Wagner PMC mercenaries ” in Belarus.
“When Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian operatives decided to repeat the operation. This time they offered military pilots to surrender,” he said.
Grozev recalled that in April of this year, Ukraine adopted a law on remuneration for the transfer of forces of Ukraine military equipment of the aggressor state. The Ukrainian special services made such an offer to Russian pilots.
Several pilots sent in videos with access confirmations and showed footage inside the cockpit. The images were quite detailed and informative. The FSB presented these videos as “controlled leaks” and covered up footage of the inside of the cockpit in the TV story.
Grozev further writes about negotiations between Ukrainian recruiters and pilots. The tone of the conversation quickly changed – the pilots stopped speaking for themselves and probably followed the instructions of the military counterintelligence of the FSB.
The pilot wanted to take his mistress out
The proof of the change in tone was the pilot's unexpected statement about the desire to take out not his wife from the country but a mistress. Grozev told how in about five minutes he found out that the pilot's “mistress” was working for the FSB, and that the Ukrainians also understood this. All the time her “boyfriend” was negotiating with the Ukrainian side, the “mistress” was talking to an FSB military counterintelligence officer.
surprised that she has a passport, that she was in Istanbul a few months ago, and a year earlier – in Barcelona,” the investigator said.
Another piece of evidence of the presence of the FSB came when the pilot unexpectedly asked the Ukrainians for advice on how to put the co-pilot to sleep with a sedative.
“At that moment, it became clear to me that the original lure operation had ended and turned into a double operational game. Both sides were trying to extract the maximum amount of information while feeding the maximum disinformation,” Grozev continued.
Double game – fake air defense maps and landing approaches
The Ukrainian side handed over fake air defense deployment maps to pilots and the FSB and misinformed them about the runways. Russian pilots issued descent and approach charts that could be incorrect.
Ukrainian special services persuaded the FSB to send the pilot's wife, along with the FSB team, to Minsk to meet with Ukrainian curators. As a result, the Russian special services waited 4 days. According to Grozev, the game ended when the FSB realized that no one would come to the meetings. The Ukrainians realized that they would not be able to contact the real pilot.
In communication with Radio Liberty, Grozev denied participation in any operations of special services. According to him, the Bellingcat team was filming an investigative documentary about the game between the FSB and the Ukrainian special services. The journalist promises to publish this investigation soon.
The FSB is looking for Russian deserters in the Zaporozhye region, the number of which is increasing exponentially. At the moment, 60 escaped occupiers are known.