Speaking in Kiev after a closed-door meeting on the sting, a lawmaker from Ukrainian President Zelensky’s ruling party, Maryana Bezuhla, confirmed to journalists that there was a Ukrainian operation aimed at gathering intelligence and arresting hold suspected Russian war criminals.
“There is a special measure as part of the routine work of intelligence officers to gather information about those involved in aggressors … At the initiative of the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine], the next event was opened to try to pull a certain number of people out of the territory of the Russian Federation,” Bezuhla said.
Bezuhla, the head of a parliamentary committee that specializes in investigating the “illegal actions” of officials, said there would be an investigation into how this activity was known to the Belarusian special services.
Three CNN sources detailed and provided evidence that Russians arrested in Belarus in July 2020 were the target of a sophisticated Ukrainian intelligence attack to capture captured war criminals. alleged to be Russian, with the knowledge and support of the United States, which American officials deny.
The findings of the CNN report have had a wide-ranging impact in Ukraine. In Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday there was a brief scuffle and noisy scenes as opposition delegates held up banners accusing government figures of being responsible for the operation’s failure and demanding an investigation. immediately check how it failed.
One sign reads “it’s time to name Ukraine’s traitors” and another read “we demand the truth.”
On Wednesday, an adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, denied the CNN report, casting doubt on the use of anonymous sources.
“As usual, obligated anonymous retirees – and here’s the key – confirm something. Another anonymous source denies something. Again: anonymous, no last name, no one. positions and, therefore, sources have no informational value and credibility,” Podoliak told Ukraine’s state media Ukrinform.
Podoliak also pointed to a statement from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on Wednesday, which said that the CNN report presents “new evidence” that Ukraine’s secret services interfered in the work. Moscow’s internals.
“When in the past did an FSB official appear in the media almost immediately to support and praise a report? This is in fact a signal to the entire Russian propaganda system, about the what to do and how to do. Now they’re going to “disband” this story with reference to CNN,” Podoliak said.
But speaking at the Ukrainian Parliament on Thursday, an opposition politician, Iryna Herashchenko, of the European Solidarity Party, accused the President’s office of mishandling the situation by saying that “CNN is spreading words lies and deception, and accuses them of cooperating with the FSB.”
“Let me remind you,” added Herashchenko, “Zelensky was on the front lines with this same CNN reporter. It turned out later that Zelensky had sent FSB agents to the front lines so they could film information about the troops. our team there? fit together,” she said.
Herashchenko, herself a former journalist, accused Zelensky’s office of censoring CNN’s coverage in Ukraine and urged Ukrainian journalists to take note of the story to “glorify” the Ukrainian military, whom she believes was betrayed due to operational failure.
CNN’s Matthew Chance and Zahra Ullah reported in Moscow, and Katharina Krebs in London.