Acting SBI director on 'Wagner PMC' case: We didn't receive info about such operation on Ukraine's territory
Acting Director of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) Oleksiy Sukhachov has said that the investigation into the "Wagner PMC (Private Military Company)" case has not received confirmation of information that such an operation was carried out on the territory of Ukraine.
"This criminal proceeding is overly politicized. We interrogated high-ranking officials, law enforcement officers, representatives of the Ukrainian intelligence agencies. We also requested materials from law enforcement and intelligence agencies that would confirm or deny such an operation," Sukhachov said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Acting director of the SBI said: "At present, we have not received any information about such an operation on the territory of Ukraine. According to the results of interrogations of officials, such information has not been received either."
Speaking about the CNN report about the alleged assistance of the American side in organizing the operation, acting director of the SBI said: "We analyzed it [reportage] with the investigator twice and did not reveal any factual data that this media could provide to the investigation as a version or direction for the study."
As for the Temporary Investigative Commission of Parliament on the "Wagner members" case, according to Sukhachov, representatives of the SBI are not invited to meetings and information is not sent.
Answering the question whether the SBI is ready to attach the materials of the Commission's report to the case, when the final decision is made, the acting director of the SBI said: "If the Commission sends a corresponding report to our address, it is clear that we will study it as part of the investigation of this criminal proceeding."
At the same time, according to Sukhachov, the SBI in contact with parliamentary committees on law enforcement, defense and national security.
"If they provide the investigation with information, we will definitely study it and use it in the course of the investigation," he added.
As reported, on September 8, the US television channel CNN published material about the alleged assistance of the US CIA to Ukraine in organizing an operation to detain 33 fighters of the Wagner PMC. According to them, the Ukrainian side received cash from the United States, technical assistance and advice from the CIA during the organization of the operation.
At the same time, a senior US official told CNN that these allegations were "false."
As reported, on July 29, some 33 members of the Wagner PMC were detained near Minsk.
On August 12, the Prosecutor General's Office (Ukraine) applied to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus with requests to extradite 28 people from the Russian Private Military Company Wagner, who "took an active part in hostilities on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of the terrorist organizations 'LPR' and 'DPR (Luhansk and Donetsk Peoples' Republics')."
"All 28 persons, including nine citizens of Ukraine, were notified of suspicion of participation in a terrorist organization," the press service of the PGO said.
However, on August 14 it became known that Belarus handed over to Russia 32 of the 33 detained Wagner members.
On August 18, a number of Ukrainian media reported that SBI 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 a leak, the Belarusian special services learned about it.
The information was denied by the authorities.
Zelensky noted that the last time he spoke with Alexander Lukashenko when discussing the issue of the detained Wagner members. "When the Wagner members were on the territory of Belarus, I called Alexander Grigorievich, warned him, said that we were ready to convey full information about these people," the president said.
The head of state added that Lukashenko told him that he would "not let him down" and "would figure it out." "I was sure that he would transfer us these killers. But then what happened happened, and this was our last conversation," Zelensky said.
On September 10, 2021, head of the interim commission of inquiry of the Verkhovna Rada on the investigation of possible illegal actions of representatives of state authorities and other persons against the sovereignty of Ukraine Maryana Bezuhla (Servant of the People faction) stated that a directly authorized special operation regarding the forced landing of a Turkish plane with mercenaries of the Wagner PMC didn't take place in Ukraine, but a special intelligence event was carried out.