Misinformation, speculation in Wagner members' case intended to harm Ukraine's special services – Burba

Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine (from 2016 to August, 5 2020) Vasyl Burba believes that "disinformation and speculation" spread in the media under the so-called "Wagner members' case" is an attempt to harm the Ukrainian special services.

"I want to state right away, I consider it wrong to comment on any real or alleged actions of the special services by the former head of military intelligence. There is too much obvious misinformation and speculation in the press on the so-called 'Wagner members' case.' In my opinion, all these speculations are aimed solely at an attempt to damage to the reputation of Ukraine's special services," he told Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.

"Surely, our operational services carefully monitored and monitor the systemic enemies of the country. They conduct appropriate documentation of certain actions. Certainly, also that all this is strictly classified information, and it never becomes publicly open. Therefore, build conspiracy theories completely copying them from newspaper 'investigations' invented and implemented by Russian special technologists is unacceptable," Burba said.

According to him, "all the more, the versions about the possible participation of the President of Ukraine in any assistance to the "Wagner members" are absolutely absurd speculations. This is impossible neither for moral nor for operational data."

When asked to comment on the information disseminated in the media that the operation of the Ukrainian special services to capture the "Wagner members" was frustrated by a leak from the president's entourage, he replied: "There is no such information."

"As a serviceman, I have been and remain outside politics. I will say one thing that the people of Ukraine can be proud of the actions of the Ukrainian intelligence service. But not everything in the war depends on us. I respect the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief to rotate. At the moment I am on vacation with my family, after which I will serve Ukraine and further in another area of work, by the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief," Burba also said.

Some 33 PMC members were detained in Minsk, from where, according to them, they were supposed to fly to Turkey. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko stated that their arrival was connected with an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country before the elections. However, a number of Russian media outlets reported that the group's departure was the result of an operation by the Ukrainian special services.

On Tuesday, August 18, a number of Ukrainian media reported that the SBU and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense were preparing an operation to detain members of the Wagner PMC. According to the media, they were supposed to fly from Minsk to Istanbul, but during the flight one of the passengers had to simulate deterioration in health, as a result of which the plane had to make an emergency landing in Kyiv, where the Wagner members were to be detained.

The media claimed that the operation was reported to President Volodymyr Zelensky and Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak, after which, as a result of the information leak, the Belarusian special services learned about it.