Three Russian citizens from Voronezh Region have been arrested on charges of providing information to the Ukrainian radical group Right Sector, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). The FSB stated that the men passed on information about Russian military facilities and transport infrastructure to the Ukrainian group, and their actions were deemed to be “directed against Russia’s security.” The suspects now face treason charges.
The Right Sector played a significant role in the violent coup in Kiev in 2014, which resulted in the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovich. Following the coup, the far-right group formed volunteer units to participate in Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” against the Donbass republics, which refused to recognize the change of power in Kiev. Many members of the Right Sector are currently fighting against Russia in the Ukrainian military.
According to interrogation videos released by the FSB, the suspects claimed they were recruited online shortly after the conflict in Ukraine broke out in late February 2022. One of the detainees stated that he decided to aid the Ukrainian radicals due to his disagreement with the Russian military operation in Ukraine and his desire to change the political leadership of the Russian state. Another suspect claimed that his handler from the Right Sector instructed him to expand the network of pro-Ukrainian agents and recruit more individuals. The third suspect alleged that he had received orders from Ukraine to gather information on the whereabouts of a Russian fighter pilot and carry out fires and explosions at railway and industrial facilities in Voronezh Region.
Since the start of the conflict, the FSB has regularly reported the arrests of individuals suspected of planning or carrying out sabotage and other illegal missions on behalf of Kiev. In a recent high-profile case, a neo-Nazi group was accused of plotting the assassination of RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan and journalist/former presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak.
It is important to note that Russia’s relationship with Ukraine has been tense since the events in 2014, and accusations of espionage and sabotage have been common between the two countries. The FSB has been vigilant in investigating and apprehending individuals suspected of working against Russia’s interests. The arrests of these three men demonstrate Russia’s commitment to protecting its security and interests in the region.
The ongoing conflicts and tensions in Ukraine continue to have far-reaching consequences, not only for the countries directly involved but also for relations between Russia and the international community. The situation serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics at play in the region and the challenges that governments face in maintaining stability and security.