Security Service of Ukraine
- A lieutenant colonel in Ukraine’s intelligence service was charged with being a Russian spy.
- Security services said they found stacks of cash and Russian SIM cards in his home.
- The arrest underscores concerns that Ukraine’s intelligence may be deeply infiltrated by Moscow.
A high-ranking agent of Ukraine’s intelligence service has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the Kremlin, local authorities said on Thursday.
Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said it detained a lieutenant colonel from its own agency, and discovered stacks of foreign cash and SIM cards issued by Russian carriers when searching his home.
The lieutenant colonel, who was not named, used a mobile phone to photograph documents showing the locations of roadblocks in the Zaporizhzhia region, and sent them to an email registered on a Russian domain, the SBU said.
“Evidence of permanent connections with representatives of law enforcement and state bodies of the Russian Federation was also established,” the SBU added. “In particular, close relatives of the traitor are among them.”
Photos of items seized in the lieutenant colonel’s home also show a knuckle duster, five identification booklets, and knives.
The lieutenant colonel’s possessions included multiple identification booklets and a guide for speaking English that was written in Russian.
Security Service of Ukraine
“I advise everyone to realize: the SBU is not a place for agents of the Kremlin and people who do not believe in the victory of Ukraine. If someone betrayed the oath and the Ukrainian people, he must answer according to the law,” said Vasyl Malyuk, head of the SBU, in a statement.
Malyuk said that the SBU would need to perform a “self-cleansing of our ranks from traitors.”
The lieutenant colonel’s arrest comes as Ukraine’s key security services continue to wrestle with the task of eliminating Russian moles among their ranks.
In July, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired his childhood friend and head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, citing concerns of treason.
Before he was sacked, Bakanov had appointed Oleg Kulinich, another SBU officer, as head of the agency in Crimea. Kulinich was also arrested in July on charges of spying for Russia and sending state secrets to the Kremlin, per Ukrainian reports.
Maj Gen. Viktor Yahun, who was deputy head of the SBU until 2015, told The Guardian that the agency has long held close ties with Russia’s Federal Security Bureau, the main successor to the famed KGB.
Yahun said the SBU would celebrate KGB Day in its offices until as late as 2010, and that pro-Russian agents are still in the agency, the outlet reported.
“Ukraine made a major mistake in not following the lead of the Baltic nations following independence in reforming the security services from ground zero,” he said, per The Guardian.
The SBU and FSB did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.