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HOISTED WITH THEIR OWN PETARD: UKRAINE'S INFLUENCE OPERATIONS AGAINST EUROPE. Part 2

Secret operations of influence Ukrainian conducted autonomously or under the direction of еру Western advisors make a profound interest for investigators.

The crash of Malaysian Boeing-777 over Donbass can be called the biggest and possibly the most successful and cynical campaign of Ukrainian and British special services, launched to influence the international community and leaders of foreign countries.

I described in details the long and careful process of preparations to this provocation in my documentary. The authorities left the air space above the conflict zone opened on purpose, despite the use of their own combat aviation in the Donbass and an obvious threat to civilian airplanes.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine commenced to publish falsified operations maps in advance and diminished the size of territories controlled by the Ukrainian Army.

The Security Service of Ukraine prepared fabricated audio recordings of the telephone conversations by militia in advance.

The British secret services sent two agents to the battle zone. They monitored the operation preparations on the spot. SBU officers General Kondratyuk and Lieutenant-Colonel Vasily Burba accompanied them.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine removed the 2nd battalion of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment from combat duty in Mariupol and secretly relocated it to the zone where Boeing was downed. I think it was exactly the unit that launched a missile.

It is possible that there was another element of this complicated operation made in many ways. Lots of people of Donbass, who I spoke to about this tragedy, said that they saw warplanes in the air that day. I assume the pilots were supposed to confirm the fact of the destroying of the airliner or to push the matter through in case the ground-to-air missile rocket misses.

This provocation allowed Ukraine and its western patrons to justify sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, they failed to achieve all goals of this operation. As far as I know, Western countries planned to use the tragedy to bring their troops to the territory of Ukraine. Luckily, this has never happened.

The Ukraine’s hackers continued their attempts to discredit Russia and launched in 2015 cyber attacks on the online assets of the Dutch Security Council. It was stated that the purpose of the attack was to obtain data on the progress of the investigation in the MH-17 case. The hacking was carried out in phishing way meaning to send emails to persuade employees of the Institution to enter their authorization data on a fake site. After this manipulation, hackers usually get the username and password to log in to the system. Hackers registered a domain onderzoekraad.nl, which was different from the address of the real Security Council server onderzoeksraad.nl only one letter “s”. Trend Micro IT-company, that conducted investigation, blamed Russian hackers in the report but gave no evidence as well. Their proves were made in the way that only Russians use phishing attacks and create fake sites that imitate the real ones.

However, this explanation is only suitable for people who are completely uninformed in computer technologies. A simple search on Google showed me that any phishing attack, and there are tens of millions of them all over the world annually, follows a similar pattern. Trend Micro is a large and well-known company; I don’t think it was a good idea to bring accusations basing on insufficient conclusions.

Since then, Ukraine has staged similar cyber provocations repeatedly. I will tell you how some of them were conducted, and who stands behind them.

UKRAINIAN CYBER UNITS AND THEIR OPERATIONS

State hackers

In recent years, regular hacking units have been created in the Security Service and the Armed forces of Ukraine with the support of the NATO countries. They transferred about one million euros for this purpose from 2017 to 2019.

For example, it is well known for January, 2018 the Situation Center for Cyber Security was established in the SBU’s Department of Counterintelligence and Cyber Security. It was established with the money of the Ukraine-NATO Trust Fund. Later, regional cyber centers have been formed in Sumy, Dnepr and Odessa on the basis of the SBU regional directorates’ cyber departments. For example, in Sumy, the cyber division is located in a three-story building behind the the SBU Directorate in Sumy region at 32 Gerasim Kondratiev street. Romanian intelligence service and the state IT company “Rasirom RA” provided the center with technical equipment They also provide training for Ukrainian employees. One of the SBU groups was trained in Romania in May and June 2019.

Office of the SBU Directorate in Sumy region

There is a special type of intelligence operations called “intelligence of cybernetics” in the information Department of the Administration of the Border Guard of Ukraine (border intelligence is hidden under this cover). These hackers specialize in infiltrating the migration, military, and customs structures of neighboring countries.

In addition, the Communications and Cyber Security Forces Command was created in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in February 2020 according to NATO standards. The tasks of this structure, among other things, will include countering Russian propaganda and conducting cyber attacks on important state and military facilities in Russia, including management systems, financial institutions, industrial and energy enterprises, railway stations, airports and others.

According to some reports, the Centers of information and psychological operations from the Special Operations Forces may be transferred to the new structure, and several divisions will be created on their basis, following the example of the NATO cyber centers.

Building of testing cyber ground is also planned within the Cyber Command of the Ukrainian Army. Korolev’s Zhytomyr military Institute can become one of the possible places for its deployment. It is planned to test tools of cyber intelligence and to identify vulnerabilities in local networks.

Major-General Yevgeny Stepanenko, the former Head of the Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization (MITI), took the lead of the Cyber Command. This institutionof Higher education trains professionals of computer technologies for all Ukrainian special services. Earlier, in an interview to Ukrainian media, Stepanenko boasted of his cadets’ victories at the world-famous “Hackathon” competitions, and stated that hackers “who fight at a distance using networks” graduated from the MITI “cyber security faculty”.

Freelance hackers

While working for the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), I had a well-informed source, represented by an employee of the Special Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), and then the Special Operations Forces of the UAF. I’ll call him “Victor”, because he is currently on the territory of Ukraine. “Victor” had information about a group of civilian hackers who carried various recon tasks. Most part of this team members live in Odessa.

A part of the information gained by the hackers of Odessa “Victor” haded over to me for further management by the SBU. I should say there was a lot of information. I reported about my cooperation with him to Colonel Kuznetsov, the Chief of the Anti-Terrorist Center Staff.


Main intelligence Department’s hackers operations Report

These “computer geniuses” hacked hundreds of electronic mailboxes belonging to various state structures of the DPR-LPR and Russia, and ordinary citizens as well, including military personnel, officials, public and political figures.

They didn’t disdain to hack the mail of commercial structures, pursuing their own interests. They were not afraid of responsibility, as they had some kind of indulgence: their activities were covered by such a powerful agency as the Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR). By the way, there were mailboxes of employees of Burisma company among the hundreds of hacked boxes in the list, that “Victor” transferred to me. However, at that time, this title did not mean anything to me. I’m going to tell you about it later on.

These individuals hacked boxes in various western countries. After gaining access, they created so-called “mirrors” of mailboxes and thus could receive copies of the hacked subscriber's emails for a long time and regularly read their correspondence.

Once “Victor” told me that the GUR managed to obtain important information about the work of the border guard of Poland, Police department of Romania and even break into the database of the Social Security Administration of one of the U.S. states just the same way. When I asked if they were afraid of responsibility for same actions, “Victor” said that hackers worked under Russian IP addresses and even if their cyber attack was detected, the traces would still point to Russia.

By the way, NATO instructors from Lithuania told us about the same tactics at the Information and Psychological Operation training cours. They explicitly told us that one of the ways to create a negative image of Russia is  launching cyber attacks on the Western countries establishments and leaving deliberate traces of Moscow's involvement.

For example, in 2014-2015, when purchasing servers and domain names, hackers from Odessa used the following personal data:

Dirk Lookoor, Irkutsk, Petrov street, 11, +72759345287

Oleg Kabanov, Moscow, Lenin street, 24, 63, +74953578569

Rustem Ibragimov, Moscow, Rustaveli street, 14 +74967877473

These cyber attacks themselves are effectless, they don’t cause damage. But this is exactly what no one demands of them. The main task is to mislead the European citizens and discredit Moscow.

As far as I know, the payment was made in Bitcoins. They usually used the domains4bitcoins.com service to conduct transactions.

If it was a phishing attack, they registered domain names that looked like well-known resources. For example, a domain “imstogran.ru” was rented to hack Instagram accounts, as “odrokllasiniki.ru” was used for Odnoklassniki social media hacking and etc.

Odessa hacker group rented servers by “Rn Data” data center in Riga for most of their cyber attacks. Raitis Nugumanovs owned it.

Raitis Nugumanovs

Hackers used software by Anton Gorbov, a Russian developer, his network nickname Cerebrum. In 2012 he developed his own hacking tools to break into mailboxes.


Anton Gorbov

Lieutenant-Colonel Valery Seleznev, an officer of the Second Department of GUR, was a coordinator of the Odessa’s hackers. He used to give instructions and tasks to them, and received information and docs from them. He reported directly to the Head of the Department.

At that time, the head of the GUR, Major-General Pavlov, didn’t understand the value of the information received and was distrustful to new methods of intelligence. The obtained information has been restored at the GUR servers and remained unused.

For this reason Seleznev, his chief and several other officers were looking for the best use of this data – in the Special Operations Forces of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and by the SBU.

This is the way I began to receive some data from the hackers in Odessa.

The situation turned totally after Valery Kondratyuk took over the GUR in July 2015. He moved to this high position from the Head of the SBU’s Counterintelligence Department. Vasily Burba soon became his deputy. They realized the importance of the freelance hackers cooperating with the intelligence. Burba personally supervised this sector and gave tasks and directed the hackers.

I believe that Kondratyuk and Burba began to engage hackers for not only mailboxes operations, but also to conduct more complex cyber attacks, which were a part of large-scale special information operations. Cooperation with civilian hackers go on. I know perfectly of the 2019-2020 high-resonant attacks by the Ukrainian hackers. Here’s some of them in details.

Czech Republic, Konev, COVID-19 and Ukrainian hackers

In 2020, U.S. and Ukrainian security services conducted an operation to influence public opinion and the military-political leadership of Europe through hacking attacks on the Czech Ministry of Health and hospitals involved in the fight against coronavirus. Ukrainian traces were first indicated in the publication by the Moscow Komomolets.

Early in April 2020 the relationships between Moscow and Prague became strained because of dismantling the monument to Marshall Konev. On April 16 Ukrainian special services attacked some facilities of the Czech Ministry of Healthcare.

Immediately, American intelligence became involved, who naturally knew that other attacks were being prepared, and on the same day reported it to their Czech colleagues. The fact that Americans completely control all special services of Ukraine is no longer a secret, I know about it completely.

It was announced that on April 17 hackers carried a number of cyber attacks on Gavel Airport in Prague and a few local city hospitals.

On April 20, the Czech People's Newspaper, a part of the Prime Minister Babish’s media corporation, suddenly accused Russian security services of attacks with reference to (!) unnamed sources in the National Secret Sector. At the same time, the leadership of the Republic and the head of the National Cyber Security Committee, General Rzhech, refused to confirm this information, obviously in order to avoid later accusations of unfounded allegations.

On the same day, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Eugene Pereyinis, the former chief propagandist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ex-head of the Department of Information Policy), pleased himself to discover the entire provocation. He was the first of all foreign officials to directly blame Russia and offered Prague assistance to investigate incidents and as well as deter Russian threats. Further, Ukrainian propaganda media were actively involved, they launched their fake press campaign of Russia’s aggression at full power.

Ukrainian hackers tried their best to leave traces that could somehow cast a shadow on Russia. What did they do for that?

As it was voiced, the main narrative stuck around the Russian ownership of IP-addresses the attack was carried out from. But even I, actually having no sophisticated computer expertise, know that hackers always hide their real IPs. And it is not difficult to do it at all (1, 2) . For this purpose, they, for example, use various VPN services, as ordinary residents of Ukraine do to enter "Odnoklassniki" and "Vkontakte." Therefore, Russian IP-addresses are rather a hint to the fact that Russia was framed.

Naturally, the security services and cybersecurity experts know this perfectly well. Therefore, I consider the statements of Mr. Dvorzhek, the technical director of the prominent ESET company, so-called “Russian trace” politically engaged. If he was under the rink of the U.S. security services, I can only sympathize with him. They will definitely never get off him.
Some Russian-language computer viruses and hacking manuals were also mentioned as arguments. Here Ukrainian specialists showed themselves, for whom Russian is actually the second native language. I can say on my own that no matter how much forced we were in the SBU to make documents in Ukrainian, most employees still spoke Russian.

I think all this provocation was dominated by American intelligence agencies. The Western trail was clearly evident when the media, apparently to strengthen the effect, distributed information about the arrival of "killers" from Russia in Prague, who were going to eliminate the head of the Prague’s districts named Kolarge, who was the initiator of the Konev monument demolition.

Obviously, readers had to draw parallels with the Skripals case and finally make sure of Russia's involvement and evil intent. But it was a clear outlier. These media injections brought the whole story to the absurd and completely revealed the true goals of the provocation.

As to the Ukrainians they must play a role of a “dirt scratcher” in the eyes of American and British intelligence organizations. It would help them not to “foul hands”.

Ukrainian propaganda resources, such as Inforesist, Gromadsk, Odessa Courier, as well as the blogger, named Alexander Kovalenko, AKA “Evil Odessa”, who works for the security services, were engaged in the media support. They were the first in Ukraine to publish allegations against Russia and regularly made  updates as the scandal progressed. The Centers for information and psychological operations of the Ukrain’s SSO have also contributed. 83rd CIPSO (Odessa), which was recently fully disclosed on the Internet, worked on this topic using accounts, for example, on the Enigma portal.

Hacking Burisma. Attack that didn’t happen

Similarly, Ukrainian security services and their hackers have become embroiled in Americans domestic political games.

In January 2020, the little-known Area 1 IT company of American origin published a short report about how hackers tried to access computers of Ukrainian Burisma gas production company. Russia was appointed responsible for the cyber attack. The entire evidence, as usual, was only made up around the Russians use to do so, and only Russian hackers necessarily needed Hunter Biden compromised. Why should Burisma computers have discrediting evidence to a son of the ex-VP of the U.S.? Read about it in one of my previous investigations here.

After the publication of a minor report with absolutely unfounded accusations, all U.S. media sympathetic to Democrats reported to the public about Trump's ties to Russian hackers and the Russian government. Naturally, no “independent” American journalist was confused that this report and its authors were tied to the main beneficiary of this scandal – the Democratic Party of the United States.

Oren Falcowitz, the Area 1 CEO, is a donor of the Democrats as well as a cyber security consultant for Biden's campaign. He was previously an employee of the US Cyber Command and the NSA. Moreover, the Director of Research and Development in Area 1 is John Morgan, the “full-time” Democrat, who is a member of the New Hampshire State Senate (the 23rd constituency), and before that was a long-term contractor of the U.S. Department of Defense. Unfortunately, none of the America’s “journalism bests“ paid attention to these smocking barrels.

The fact is that the whole story happened on the eve of Trump's impeachment vote in the U.S. Senate, and Democrats urgently needed to come up with new “evidence” of the U.S. President's collusion with Russia. A whole operation was developed. But as we now know, it didn't do. The Senate has removed all suspicions from Trump.

In the United States, such interference in political processes could have serious legal consequences. Therefore, Democrats, having used their connections in the State Department and the intelligence community, engaged the Ukrainian security services and their hackers to simulate an attack on Burisma. Most likely, they created fraudulent sites and letters for a phishing attack and tried to leave “Russian traces”, which were then referred to in Area 1. For example, the report says that hackers used resources of Yandex, the Russian IT-giant, as a service for sending phishing mails. It was enough for a closely affiliated Area 1.

Meanwhile, any independent expert would confirm that this looks absolutely unconvincing, and it is absurd to draw conclusions about anyone’s responsibility on such grounds. In principle, all accusations and arguments of high-profile hacking against China, Iran, Russia, North Korea are based on assumptions, guesses, and etc.

Ukrainian propaganda media, such as Inforesist and Gromadske, were again among the first to notify their readers about the alleged cyber attack on Burisma. Then the Ukrainian police got involved, which started investigations regarding the fact of attacks and even requested assistance from the FBI. Since then, however, no one has heard anything about the outcome and is unlikely to ever hear.

Interestingly, Burisma itself stayed away from all this media noise and did not even confirm its servers had been hacked. Karina Zlachevskaya, the directors board member, and daughter to Nikolai Zlachevski? the owner of the company, refused to comment on the incident.
As for Ukraine, this influence operation can be seen as another episode of the country's interference in U.S. domestic political processes, along with the disclosure of Yanukovych's secret bank.

Polish bombers

I am also aware of an information operation that Ukrainian hackers carried out independently, without being tasked by Washington. The goal was also to frame Russia and exacerbate its relations with Poland.

This May, Polish media, as usual with a reference to anonymous sources, reported that in 2019 Russian security services used their aged and already exposed accounts on the Internet to call on Internet users to send out reports about mining Polish schools during final exams. Those Internet users in question are anonymous authors of Lolifox, the Polish forum platform. In April and May of 2019, they really discussed and planned to send false letters about mining schools. The site was deleted, but its archive copy was preserved with all correspondence of these “bombers”.

Messages of the Lolifox forum users

Eventually, near 700 educational buildings throughout Poland received such reports. The forum was considered anonymous, no traces could be found, the authors could not be found. In almost a year Russia has been accused of it .

Meanwhile, according to my information, such provocation could be carried out by Ukrainian hackers on special service. In their correspondence with Lolifox users in April and May of 2019, they made posts of Russian hackers, FSB and Putin involvement in mining. But no one pointed to it, there were no accusations against Russia, and the forum users did respond to these injections.

Messages of the Lolifox forum users

After almost a year, this topic popped up again, as on April 18, 2020 Ukrainian hackers posted on the anonymous Pastebin a list of IP-addresses, belonging to users of Lolifox. At least that was stated. Unnamed experts who were carrying out “the detailed analysis” of the attack also found “well-known” IPs of the Russian intelligence agencies on this list.

Publication of IP addresses in the anonymous Pastebin website

The scandal’s campaign was promoted by mass media and sited, united to the system of Ukraine’s information and psychological warfare. For instance, one of the first reports comprising accusations against Russia published Alexander "Evil Odessa" Kovalenko. The comments to Polish Radio was given by Mr.Pokora, the editor-in-chief of Stopfake. Of course, he knew absolutely that Russia is behind the attacks. It is symptom that officials, as in other incidents, have not confirmed or commented on the allegations against Russia. They were well aware of their baseless nature.

Chronological scheme of provocation

There is zero evidence to the links between Russia and those anonymous cases. As well as there are no arguments in favor of authenticity of the published list of IP-addresses, which, apparently, formed the grounds of investigation. Why should everyone believe that these records belong to the very authors of Lolifox, who discussed sending letters about mining? Nobody bothered to explain that.

Actually the list of the Russian IPs was made by the staff of the Ukrainian intelligence agencies in absolutely random order via Internet services (1, 2, 3) which provide such information . However, this was an occasion for Polish investigators to report their successes and close the dead case after a kick of anti-Russian cyber-hysteria.

In turn, the Polish leadership took advantage of the situation to raise the election rating of the current government. Presidential elections were due to take place in May, and President Andzej Duda has built his campaign to unite Poles against the key enemy. Of course, Russia was designated the enemy. Within the framework of such a concept, Ukrainian provocation proved to be beneficial to Duda’s election HQ, which used and hyperbolized the history of “cyber threat from the East” as a major trend of election rhetoric.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Poland to shift the election date to the end of June, but against this background, a new national security strategy was approved by Poland's president on May 12, where Russia is officially named the country's main opponent.

In addition to influence operations via modern computer technologies, Ukrainian security services also worked in the classical range of influence methods.

THE UKRAINE’S MAIN DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE

The Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) is engaged in propaganda abroad through its devices. The task of this secret service is to actively inject into the consciousness of foreign partners the ideas of the need to provide military and financial assistance to Ukraine in order to counter the Russia’s aggression. To this end, the GUR, for example, using the Government communication StratCom tool, systematically briefs Western partners with information that demonizes Russia and encourages Western countries to strengthen anti-Russian measures.

Through military attachés in foreign countries, the GUR spreads disinformation about Russia and the war in the country, also paying for publications in the local press. As a rule, foreign missions, with rare exceptions, do not write articles for publication in the media. They are instructed to gain info from the sites maintained by IPSO specialists, for example, Informnapalm, InfoResistance, Censor and “George Maison” blog on Medium.

But these resources are aimed primarily at the domestic Ukrainian consumer and are funny stuffed with propaganda and slogans in the style of Soviet anti-imperialist agitation. Therefore, foreign media are not willing to cooperate with Ukrainian military diplomats, as well as their text are often posted on second-class portals on the Internet. That, however, does not prevent Ukrainian spies from sending winning reports to Kiev.

In addition, Ukraine's Defense officials abroad are trying to carry out various propaganda activities in foreign countries. For example, the attaché in Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Metelap (by the way, one of the GUR heads in the past), was intended to give a lecture to the Kazakh military about “Russian aggression against Ukraine”. However, he did not succeed in this, the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan refused his initiative.

UKRAINE’S FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (SVR)

I know a little about the activities of the Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) within the strategic communications operations. According to my service competence, I did not have to intersect with such specialists of the SVR. It is logical that, after the relocation to Russia, no contacts and sources left in the SVR, unlike other bodies or services.

From the general information that was passed between the staff of the SBU, I know that intelligence officers of the SVR participated in the information campaign during the Dutch referendum of Ukraine’s association with the EU. And then they got involved in discrediting North Stream 2. The body tried best to gain a profitable solution for Ukraine from Europe regarding construction of a new gas pipeline. However, Ukrainian intelligence officers failed to achieve much success. Construction was suspended only after American sanctions have been imposed.

SECURITY SERVICE OF UKRAINE

The Security Service of Ukraine got, perhaps, the highest top in using information operations at citizens of Europe. I know a lot of them personally. Under Vasyl Gritzak, the Service simply dropped to the creation of frank information fakes. For example, in the spring of 2016, during the terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport and subway, the head of the SBU announced Russia's involvement.

Gregoire Muto case

In order to manipulate the public opinion of Europeans, the SBU actively plays the terrorism card. At least they did in the case of Frenchman Gregoire Muto

In 2016, he was detained on the border of Ukraine and Poland while trying to smuggle weapons and was accused of preparing terrorist attacks during Euro-2016. The head of the Security Service Vasyl Gritzak personally said that the man planned 16 terrorist attacks in France and for this purpose intended to purchase weapons and explosives.

However, further events clearly indicate that everything that happened to Muto is a planned special operation of the Security Service, in which the citizen of France was simply framed. This special operation involved agent Mikhail Zubov, a citizen of Ukraine, who was then eliminated so that he could not reveal all the circumstances of this dirty game.

By the way, besides Zubov himself, a former member of the “Azov” regiment, his wife and 4-year-old daughter were killed. The investigation immediately reported that the killer is Zudov himself. However, the huge number of inconsistencies in the criminal case make it possible to reasonably doubt the official conclusions.

A huge number of inconsistencies in Muto's case did not confuse the Ukrainian court: the French was sentenced to 6 years custody.

Misinformation of Polish and Czech special services

Spying in the security structures of European states was not the limit. The SBU carried out active operations to misinform the intelligence services and military leadership of the EU countries. In this regard, the document of the SBU’s Department for the Protection of National Statehood on one of such cases makes special interest.

Document of the SBU’s Department of Protection of National Statehood

In 2016, as part of the counterintelligence search No. 1981 “Polyglot”, the Ukrainian special service placed its agent “Skif” into the secret network of the  Czech and Polish intelligences.

Through the mole, the SBU supplied EU intelligence agencies with a spoilt, misinforming or compromising information on events in so-called antiterrorists operation (ATO) zone. With assistance of “Skif” and StratCom's technology to spread disinformation, the Ukrainian side intended to discredit pro-Russian forces in the EU and put Ukraine in a favorable light.

As is known, intelligence docs regularly lie on the highest tables and make soles to important foreign decisions. But unfortunately, they are not always true.

Spying in Poland

Ukrainian security services carry out active intelligence ops. in the European countries, officially called allies and partners of Ukraine. Poland has traditionally been of particular interest. In the reports of the SBU, SVR and GUR, information on Poland is priority 2 after Donbass and Russia.

Here is the secret document of the SBU’s Lviv Regional Department dated July 2014.






It deals with obtaining intelligence from “available operational capabilities” about the composition, size and plans to reform the Polish Armed Forces. This activity is masked as “counter-intelligence activities to counter anti-Ukrainian activities of governmental and non-state organizations of Poland”. But, you will agree, the stated goals have little to do with the collection of agency information about the Polish Armed Forces.

Nothing has changed since 2014. Officially, Kiev declares friendship and mutual assistance, as operationally present-day Ukraine carries out intelligence and subversion activities against Polish Armed Forces, government and non-state organizations.

Freedom of speech in Ukrainian

Since the Czech Republic was mentioned again, I will give another indicative example of how the Ukrainian authorities and the military carried out a sort of information operation. This time it was not only about dissemination of false information, but concealment of truth.

In October 2016, the ATO Command received a letter the HQ of the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center, that has been titled “Regarding the anti-Ukrainian activities in the ATO zone of foreign media representative”.

The report the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center Chief of Staff


The letter reports that Miroslav Karras, the Czech television reporter, having official accreditation to work in the ATO zone, collected “tendential information” for the Russian media sake.

His links to Lifenews and Russia Today were faked because it was considered sufficient grounds for the detention and interrogation of a person at the time. In fact, Mr. Karras asked uncomfortable questions and obviously wanted to show the war as it was, against the version of Kiev authorities. Such a media report could indeed appear on Czech television. This did not suit the Security Service operatives in the ATO zone, who could then look bad for not preventing a leak of truth from Donbass.

The ATC HQ proposed to authorize measures against a Czech journalist in accordance with article 14 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of Ukraine. What is this article about? Article 14, named “Regime in the ATO zone", outlines what measures the security forces can apply. Specifically:

Restrictions of the rights and freedoms of citizens may be temporarily imposed in the area of the anti-terrorist operation.

In order to protect citizens, the State and society from terrorist threats in the area of a long-term anti-terrorist operation, preventive detention of persons involved in terrorist activities for more than 72 hours, but not more than 30 days, may be carried out as an exception, taking into account the peculiarities established by this Law.

How interrogations of unwelcome and dissent are made in ATO zone, I have already told in an interview about the so-called “Library” at the Mariupol Airport (link). This was usually done in a very hard way.

These are the measures that the SBU officers were going to use to a journalist from the EU, who, I remind you, had official accreditation to work in the ATO zone.

CONCLUSIONS


All of the above mentioned shows that the Ukrainian government, using state and non-state bodies, systematically tries to influence hearts and minds of people and leaders in Europe and even in the United States in order to make them benefit to Ukraine.

At the same time, the Ukrainian government does not breeze anything - neither outright provocations, nor manipulation of facts or direct disinformation.

Thus, there is a paradoxical situation. Much of Ukraine's StratCom efforts are funded by the West. So it turns out that Western countries finance information war and influence operations against themselves.


Persons:

Yevgeny Perebiynis – Ambassador of Ukraine to the Czech Republic, head of the Information policy department of the Ukrainian Ministry of foreign Affairs (2013-2015)

Vasily Gritsak is the former Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (2015-2019), Army General

G.Kuznetsov – сolonel, chief of staff of the anti-еerrorist center at the SBU (2006-2010, 2015 to present)

Valery Kondratyuk is the former Deputy Head of the Administration of Ukraine (2016-2019), the Head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (2015-2016), the Head of the SBU Counter-Intelligence Department (2014-2015), Lieutenant General.

Vasily Burba is the Head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (from 2016), Colonel General.

Alexander Metalap – Lieutenant-General, attaché of defense in Kazakhstan, the former chief of the Main intelligence Directorate of Ukraine.

Yuriy Pavlov is major general, former head of the Main intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (2014-2015)

Valery Seleznyov is lieutenant colonel, officer of the 2nd Department of the Main Intellegence Directorate of Ukraine

Yevgeny Stepanenko is major general, head of the command of the signal corps and cybersecurity forces since February 2020, head of the Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization (2016-2020)

Alexander Kovalenko is the agent of the Ukrainian special services, author of the blog "Zloy odessit"

Raitis Nugumanovs is the owner of a data center in Riga, where Ukrainian hackers rented servers for cyber attacks

Anton Gorbov is the Russian programmer, author of software for hacking e-mails.

Organizations:

The National Security and Defense Council (SNBO) is a coordinating body under the President of Ukraine on national security and defense issues.

The Ministry of foreign Affairs (MFA) is a state executive authority of Ukraine that implements state policy in the field of foreign relations of Ukraine with other states, as well as with international organizations.

The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (MIPU) is a state executive authority in the area of ensuring information sovereignty of Ukraine and controlling the dissemination of socially important information in Ukraine and abroad.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is a special purpose law enforcement agency intended to ensure the country's state security. Subordinates to the President of Ukraine.

The foreign intelligence service of Ukraine (SVR) is a state authority of Ukraine that carries out intelligence in the political, economic, military-technical, scientific-technical, information and environmental areas.

The Department of strategic communications is a division of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine designed to counter aggressive information influences and implement the unified information policy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Main Intelligence Directorate is a military intelligence agency of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

Psychological operations centers (PSYOP) – military units of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, responsible for conducting information wars.

The signal corps and cybersecurity command is a structure within the Armed forces of Ukraine designed to provide communications, secure computer networks, and conduct cyber attacks









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