Ukrainian Security Agency Seeks to Arrest Russian Army Colonel Coordinating SubversionAs many as one hundred Russian military intelligence officers and special forces troops are leading the seizures of towns and local governments in Ukraine's Donetsk province, the Ukrainian intelligence chief said today in his first public account of the crisis.
Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, has spent years building covert networks that its officers now are using to help seize cities such as Slaviansk and Kramatorsk in the north of Donetsk, said Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, the head of Ukraine’s State Security Service (the Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrainy, or SBU). Nalyvaichenko, a career diplomat and security official, gave one of the broadest descriptions of the conflict by a Ukrainian official during an online discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council.
The Dangers Are Clear, Even if the Facts Are Not
Journalists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk have found little to explain clearly the gunbattle at the city's edge early Sunday that has revived tensions in the east and fears of an invasion by Russian conventional forces. Reporters Roland Oliphant and Alastair Good of the the UK daily The Telegraph show what is visible there, and what is not.
Last week's agreement in Geneva, meant to avert wider conflict in Ukraine, was faltering as the new week began. Pro-Moscow separatist gunmen show no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized. The images below are from the cities of Donetsk and Slaviansk. A gunbattle in Slaviansk left an uncertain number dead.
The declared leader of Slaviansk's unknown ruling junta, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that “fascists are trying to conquer us” and urging Putin to send “a peacekeeping force to protect the civilian population.”
Early in the search operation, China pledged the use of 21 satellites – a public display of peaceful space capabilities that reflects China’s modern space ambitions. Not all of those ambitions, though, may be peaceful.
Groups of armed men wearing soldiers’ uniforms and working in military formations have fanned out throughout Donetsk province (oblast), and to some extent the adjoining Luhansk province, taking over police stations, Ukrainian Security Service regional offices, and government buildings. Ukrainian security forces began what they labeled an anti-terrorist operation Sunday and casualties on both sides are beginning to mount.
Russia's ready use of military force in Ukraine, Georgia and beyond puts its non-NATO neighbors very much at risk of military intervention. President Putin’s fracturing of the region’s post-Cold War stability includes the use of covert agents to stage unrest and create excuses for Russia to intervene in the supposed defense of Russian-speaking minorities. Could Moscow apply the same measures in a NATO country with a significant Russian minority population such as Latvia? This question will keep NATO leaders up at night. The answer in the morning will be conventional deterrence.