Zelensky’s office explains why president denied carrying out special operation against “Wagnerites”

President Volodymyr Zelensky and head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak have denied the conduct of a special operation to detain the mercenaries of PMC Wagner in order not to reveal state secrets. Adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Arestovych told this on the air of the Ukraine 24 TV channel, – UNIAN writes.

“When the operation fails, the damage is minimized. If the operation is international in nature, the interests of three or more states are affected, and the supreme commander-in-chief personally takes part in localizing the failure”, – Arestovych stated.

At the same time, he pointed out that information about the conduct or non-conduct of the special operation is a state secret. “We cannot say that it is being carried out. We cannot say that it is not being carried out. Perhaps, both the president and the head of the Office defended the national interests of Ukraine and, in particular, those persons who carried out the intelligence mission and carry out it in the Russian Federation and Belarus”, – the adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine explained.

He also noted that now our intelligence agents can easily be identified by the aggressor’s intelligence services.

As previously reported, on November 17, a group of Bellingcat investigative journalists published a report on the results of investigation into a special operation that detained mercenaries of the Russian PMC Wagner. Most of the report is devoted specifically to the process of recruiting the “Wagnerites”, but it does not refer to who exactly “leaked” the special operation. In particular, the document says that Ukrainian intelligence began collecting data for a special operation called Avenue back in 2018. According to investigators, the active phase of the special operation began in June 2020. In total, the intelligence managed to gather 180 people, of whom they planned to select several dozen of the main war criminals, organize a flight for them, choosing an aircraft that would fly through the territory of Ukraine, forcefully land the plane with them and detain them. Bellingcat notes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was first informed about the special operation on June 15, 2020, and the Minister of Defence approved the special operation plan on July 1. Investigators note that according to former head of the Main Intelligence Directorate Vasyl Burba, head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak proposed to postpone the special operation because of the truce declared in the Donbas. In this regard, the special operation was postponed for 5 days, in one of which 33 mercenaries were detained by the KGB of Belarus on suspicion of participating in a future coup. Subsequently, Belarus handed them over to Russia despite Ukraine’s requests for the extradition of the detainees.

In August 2020, editor-in-chief of the Censor.net news portal Yuriy Butusov stated citing his own sources that the situation with the appearance of PMC Wagner’s militants in Belarus was allegedly part of a secret operation of the SBU and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine to arrest them, which failed for information leaks from the President’s Office. In turn, the Presidential Office, the Foreign Intelligence Service and the SBU denied this information.

On September 15, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced that the law enforcement officers were investigating three proceedings on the situation with the “Wagnerites”.

(c)OSTROV 2021

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