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Ukraine’s security service uncovers Russian spies, corrupt judge

Ukraine’s Security Service, the SBU, has caught two local officials in Ukraine’s east who were spying for Russia.

The SBU claims that the two men had been working in the local government of Zaporizhzhya — a city some 500 kilometers southeast of Kyiv, near the Donbas — for three years, in 2015–2018. During this time, “they were assisting the representatives of Russia’s special services in carrying out subversive activities against Ukraine,” the SBU reported on its website late on Oct. 12.

The SBU claims the suspects were in charge of organizing riots and mass protests in Zaporizhzhya. For that, they recruited “pro-Russian agents from among the residents of Zaporizhzhya Oblast and other regions of Ukraine” and prepared and transmitted intelligence about the “socio-political and socio-economic situation in Zaporizhzhya Oblast.”

The SBU also discovered that the detained suspects were developing their connections beyond Zaporizhzhya with a deputy head of the SBU in Dnipro, a larger city near Zaporizhzhya.

The men are accused of treason.

When law enforcement searched one suspect’s apartment, they found a gun, a rifle, and several knives. The SBU continues to look for evidence: they are searching the suspected spies’ workplaces and the homes of their relatives.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv, the SBU has caught a former deputy head of Ukraine’s Supreme Economic Court laundering illegally-gained funds onto Ukrainian territory currently occupied by Russia.

The man was taking bribes to influence Ukrainian court decisions. Then, in order to legalize the money, “the judge was buying commercial property in the occupied territories in Donetsk Oblast,” law enforcement reported on Oct. 12. The SBU emphasized that one of the man’s buildings in Donetsk hosted a branch of a Russian-backed bank.

Additionally, by owning property in Donbas the judge was paying taxes to the Russian-backed separatists, something that the SBU considers to be financing terrorism.

As the authorities investigated the judge, they found evidence proving his operations in the occupied Donbas, uncovered his accomplices, and seized $210,000, 11,000 euros, and Hr 230,000 stashed by the judge in cash.



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