The reason – the betrayal of the top officials? Mercenaries of PMCs in Belarus detained due to failure of large-scale operation of special services of Ukraine – Butusov
The mercenaries of the Russian PMC, detained in Belarus , were actually planned to be detained by Ukraine as a result of a large-scale special operation – but it fell through due to the actions of the President’s Office, says the chief editor of the Censor. No Yuri Butusov.
Moreover, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine ( GUR MO) Vasily Burba, who demanded that the country’s top officials investigate the failure of this special operation of the SBU counterintelligence.
On August 18, Yuri Butusov published a post on Facebook, in which he spoke about the details of the planned operation – and the likely reasons for its failure.
What is this operation and what does Ukraine have to do with it?
Butusov claims that more than a year ago, Ukraine launched an operation to search for and detain 28 terrorists living in the Russian Federation – “in order to ensure justice and replenish the” exchange fund “for the exchange of prisoners, which Russia is blocking.”
As part of the group, they planned to detain:
- two terrorists involved in the destruction of the Boeing MH17 flight near Torez;
- one terrorist involved in the destruction of the Il-76 at the Luhansk airport;
- one terrorist involved in the destruction of the AN-26 near Luhansk.
Moreover, 9 out of 28 terrorists were citizens of Ukraine, and used Ukrainian passports. 11 people from this group were already in the Peacemaker wanted base.
To detain the terrorists, the Ukrainian special services offered them supposedly lucrative jobs on behalf of the Russian private military company MAP, established in 2014 in St. Petersburg. It was created to recruit mercenaries for the war against Ukraine, but was closed by the founders in 2018.
According to Butusov, the “legend” was the work on the protection of oil rigs in Venezuela, “from where the terrorists received an invitation.” At the same time, during the ” recruitment” of the group, the terrorists gave the most important video evidence.
“The group in the media was called ‘ Wagnerians’, but most of them did not serve in the real [PMC] Wagner,” notes the chief editor of Censor.Net. “They were mercenaries who didn’t care for whom to fight. During the recruitment of mercenaries, they gave detailed testimonies on video about their crimes on the territory of Ukraine – they bragged, thinking that they were showing the level of their ” qualifications.”
In total, a group of 33 people was recruited ( except for 28 terrorists, random people also got into it).
According to the plan, the driver Gennady Kumpan was supposed to transport the entire group on July 24 from Moscow directly to the Minsk airport, without stopping for an hour in Belarus, from where they were supposed to fly on a Minsk-Istanbul flight to Turkey on July 25.
“For some reason, the plane would have landed in Ukraine, the terrorists would have been detained, and the passengers and crew would have been able to quickly continue their flight,” Butusov describes the operation plan.
However, as you know, on July 29 this group of mercenaries was detained in Minsk.
Why did she fail?
Butusov claims that on July 24, President Vladimir Zelensky was informed about the final part of the operation and the imminent departure of the terrorists from Minsk. The report was made by the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense Vasily Burba and the first deputy chairman of the SBU Ruslan Baranetsky.
Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council – Head of the Intelligence Committee Ruslan Demchenko, Deputy Head of the OP for Defense Roman Mashovets, Secretary of the President Maria Levchenk, said the chief editor of the Censor.
According to sources of the publication, at this meeting, the head of the President’s Office, Andriy Yermak, said that the operation should not be carried out .
“ Ermak referred to negotiations with Dmitry Kozak, an aide to Russian President Putin, that the detention of terrorists would prevent the start of the next truce in Donbass on July 27 and demanded to postpone the start of the operation,” Butusov writes.
The heads of the special services responded by saying that the suspension of the operation could lead to a complete failure: the terrorists are already on their way, registered for the flight, and the operation has been preparing for over a year.
“ However, Zelensky supported Yermak and ordered the SBU and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense to suspend the seizure of terrorists, and postpone the operation to July 30, so that it would be more convenient to communicate with Moscow,” Butusov says.
As a result, 33 mercenaries did not appear on the Minsk-Istanbul flight, which was scheduled to land in Ukraine. “They checked into one of the sanatoriums with orders to wait for the next flight,” the journalist writes.
The flight was scheduled for 30 July. However, on July 29, the special services of Belarus suddenly detained the entire group on the eve of departure . Alexander Lukashenko said that the group’s goal is to participate in the riots in the elections in Belarus on August 9.
Further events are known: Ukraine unsuccessfully tried to demand the extradition of at least those 9 terrorists who had Ukrainian passports. However, on August 14 it became known that Lukashenka had betrayed the entire group to Russia.
Yuri Butusov calls the reason for the failure of the operation a deliberate leak of information – in order to draw the attention of the special services of Belarus to the terrorists in order to provoke their detention and decipher the purpose of their flight.
” The leakage of information came from Ukraine, and most likely from those circles that work for rapprochement with Russia at the cost of any concessions, and have access to top secret information of the highest clearance,” Butusov suggests.
He also draws attention to the fact that the Russian Federation would not have allowed the terrorists to leave for Minsk if it had independently declassified the Ukrainian operation. “Taking into account the close cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the field of special services, it is obvious that if they had initially had intelligence information, they would not have allowed the terrorists to leave for Minsk and check in on the flight. Or they would try to use the situation for their own purposes – for example, they would record a video with the detainees. It is obvious that the Belarusians and Russians did not have accurate information about the situation, their actions were spontaneous, ”says Butusov.
“ According to the SBU, the next day the FSB received information in full about the upcoming special operation of our counterintelligence officers. And so that everything did not look so obvious, they “leaked” this data to the KGB of Belarus, after which the arrest and subsequent return of the mercenaries to the Russian Federation took place. And the big exchange, which Yermak argued for the president, did not take place, ”Shvechenko writes.
How did the Ukrainian special services react?
According to Butusov, on August 3, at a meeting with Vladimir Zelensky, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense Vasily Burba announced the failure of an expensive operation to seize terrorists and called it a betrayal .
“ Burba demanded to start checking everyone who had information about the operation, and to carry out a polygraph test for himself, Ermak, Demchenko and Mashovets. Yermak expressed his displeasure that information about the failure appeared from our partners from the United States. However, President Zelensky did not make any decisions to conduct an inspection on the occasion of the failure, “says the chief editor of Censor.No.
At the same time, on August 5, Vladimir Zelensky issued a decree on the dismissal of Burba and the appointment of a new head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Kirill Budanov. An investigation into the failure of the costly operation to capture terrorists has never been launched, Butusov says.
“The source of the failure of the seizure of terrorists is primarily the unplanned postponement of the departure of the terrorists. The decision was made by the head of the OP Yermak and approved by President Zelensky. He voiced Yermak’s motives to disrupt the operation himself – Yermak does not want to spoil his relationship with Kozak, Putin’s assistant, “the journalist states.
On July 29, the Belarusian security forces announced the arrest of 33 militants of the unofficial private military company ( PMC) Wagner controlled by the Kremlin . On August 2, the prosecutor’s office chose him a preventive measure in the form of arrest . The Security Council of Belarus reported that they were allegedly looking for another 200 militants in the country.
The Belarusian authorities stated that the goal of the PMC fighters was to destabilize the situation in the country before the presidential elections. Some of the detainees fought in Donbass on the side of the “ DPR” and “LPR”. Contrary to Ukraine’s request for their extradition, Minsk handed over the mercenaries to Moscow.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the decision of Belarus to transfer members of Wagner PMCs to Russia unfair and inconsistent with friendly interstate relations.