Ukraine charges FSB chief and Russian officials in Euromaidan crackdown plot

The SBI reported the suspicion to FSB director Alexander Bortnikov
The SBI reported the suspicion to FSB director Alexander Bortnikov

Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has announced suspicions against Alexander Bortnikov, Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), and 20 other high-ranking Russian intelligence officials, including Viktor Zolotov, head of the Russian National Guard, the SBI reported on Facebook on May 18.

Read also: Ukraine's SBU detains traitor who provided defense positions to the Russian invaders in Kharkiv Oblast

The SBI and Ukraine’s SBU security service have gathered evidence implicating them in the suppression of the Euromaidan (protests in 2013-2014).

Notifications of suspicion and summonses for the suspects have been sent to the FSB's official email and will be published on the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office website.

Russian intelligence officials are suspected of orchestrating state treason by former SBU leadership, inciting national enmity and hatred in Ukraine, and unlawfully hindering protests in 2013-2014.

SBI investigators, with the assistance of the SBU, collected evidence of subversive activities by the Russian intelligence service and the FSB head against Ukraine. They determined that Bortnikov devised a criminal plan to suppress Ukrainian protests in 2013-2014 to maintain the then-regime in power.

"The ultimate goal was the further annexation of part of Ukraine under the pretext of a so-called 'civil confrontation,'" the SBI said.

Read also: Sevastopol Berkut ex-commander and subordinates face charges for fleeing to Russia with weapons – SBI

One key objective of the FSB was to prevent Ukraine's Euro-integration and NATO membership, as these threatened Russia's imperial ambitions of restoring a union state and absorbing former Soviet republics.

"The refusal of Ukraine's top leadership to pursue Euro-integration was pre-planned by Russia, which took early measures to prevent protests and devised scenarios for their forceful dispersal," the SBI said.

Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, visited Ukraine on October 2013 to instruct the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), including Deputy Secretary Volodymyr Sivkovych, on how to disperse potential protests with maximum brutality and excessive force to intimidate other activists, the investigation revealed.

Bortnikov directed the then-head of the SBU, who also held Russian citizenship, to assist FSB operatives in their unlawful subversive activities, both personally and by involving subordinates, the investigation said.

Read also: Sevastopol Berkut ex-commander and subordinates face charges for fleeing to Russia with weapons – SBI

Following this directive, in November-December 2013, the first deputy head of the SBU, who was also the head of the Anti-Terrorism Center, raised the alert level of special forces to "enhanced." The level of terrorist threat was categorized as "potential," effectively equating protesters with potential terrorists.

Investigators found that these decisions were based on false reports by the head of the SBU's Protection of National Statehood Department, which alleged possible terrorist threats from protesters, and were approved by the SBU head.

"In December 2013, the commander of the Internal Troops of the Ukrainian Internal Affairs Ministry, following orders from a deputy commander of the Russian Internal Troops, began preparations for the forceful dispersal and shooting of activists," the SBI said.

"On Dec. 12, 2013, he requested the Ukrainian Defense Minister to transfer 4 million rounds of ammunition, 100,000 VOG-25 grenade launcher rounds, and other military assets to the Internal Troops for free."

Under the direction of the FSB director and at the invitation of the former SBU head, a group of 20 FSB officers arrived in Kyiv on Dec. 13, 2013, to instruct Ukrainian law enforcement on countering Euromaidan.

Acting on FSB orders, supported by the then-SBU leadership, Ukrainian law enforcement collected video recordings that provoked social conflicts between Euromaidan participants and opponents. These materials were published online on a specially created YouTube channel and reported back to the FSB.

The former head of the SBU and the head of the SBU's Protection of National Statehood Department defected to the Russians in 2022 and have been charged with state treason under martial law. They have also taken leadership positions in illegally created security agencies in the partially occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts. Their actions have been further classified under Article 111-1, Part 7, of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine