SBU stops activities of extremist group managed from Russia to destabilize situation in Ukraine
Ukraine's SBU State Security has stopped the activities of an extremist association controlled from Russia. The group planned to take advantage of the increased political activity of the population during the electoral process to destabilize the internal situation in Ukraine.
"SBU employees found that the group was coordinated by U.S. citizen Rustam Tashbaev, a native of Russia, a former cadet of the Kaliningrad Higher Naval School, who in 2015 was expelled from Ukraine for subversive activities. On the instructions of Russian special services, the participants of the association were to create their own military formations, called the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (deployed abroad) and the "Ukrainian National Army" (UNA - deployed in Ukraine)," the SBU's press center said on Friday.
The SBU said UNA was headed by a citizen of Ukraine Y. Zabolotny, who was repeatedly detained by the National Police for illegal possession of weapons and robbery and brought to criminal responsibility for appeals to overthrow the constitutional order in Ukraine.
"It has been established that for a long time Zabolotny conducted negotiations on obtaining financial assistance for carrying out extremist activities with M. Dulsky, a well-known agent of the Russian special services," the SBU said, adding that during martial law in Ukraine, the UNA leaders collected information on the locations and routes of movement of Ukrainian Armed Forces units in order to commit sabotage and disrupt mobilization.
Russia's involvement in UNA was confirmed by results of participants of this extremist organization in Odesa. Two suspects are citizens of Russia and the unrecognized Transdniestria People's Republic. The third is a citizen of Ukraine - a native of Transdniestria. A thousand copies of newspapers calling for people to join UNA were discovered," the SBU said.
During 16 searches, firearms and edged weapons, improvised explosive devices and grenades, explosives, military equipment, communications equipment and internal documents about the illegal military formation and relating to its illegal activities were also found and seized, the SBU said.
"All attempts to foment unrest in Ukraine, including under the guise of patriotic slogans, are doomed to defeat. The SBU will fulfill its task of ensuring the security of our citizens during the election of the President of Ukraine," SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak said on Friday.
The SBU said weapons, including guns and knives, ammunition were found at Zabolotny's residence, along with flags and other paraphernalia.