by Nataliya Trach.
Serviceman of the 30th mechanized brigade of the 8th Army Corps at the front in Luhansk Oblast on July 8. © Oleksandr Klymenko/Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine)
While Russian-backed proxies openly wage war in eastern Ukraine, there are many other fields where Russia implicitly persists to destabilize the situation in order to preserve its influence over Ukraine.
Experts say Kremlin agents are embedded in Ukraine’s security services, the police, army, and parliament. An ongoing Russian trade and information war against Ukraine, as well as the constant threat of terrorist attacks, might contribute to more turmoil in the country.
Apart from that, professional incompetence on the part of certain officials in government and law enforcement bodies stand in the way of marshaling effective resistance to Russia’s aggression, according to analysts.
More destabilization from Russia expected
Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to maintain Russia’s grasp over the entire post-Soviet territory. And Moscow sees Ukraine’s recent democratic breakthrough following the EuroMaidan Revolution and possible integration with the European Union as a threat to Putin’s hold on power, analysts believe. “All Russian international integration projects like the Russian World or Slavic Unity have no meaning without Ukraine,” says Oleksiy Melnyk, security analyst at the Kyiv-based Razumkov center think tank. “I am afraid that Putin will raise his bets again to keep Ukraine under his control. We can expect even Russia’s direct invasion into Ukraine.”
Mykola Malomuzh, a retired army general and former foreign intelligence chief in 2005-2010, says that according to his information, Russia-backed terrorists plan to shell Russian territory from Ukraine so that Putin could have an excuse to send so-called “peacekeeping troops” into Ukraine. Malomuzh warns that there is a high probability that Russia’s war against Ukraine could spark World War III.
Russian spies, supporters in Ukraine
After former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s hasty retreat at the end of February to Russia, the heads of law enforcement agencies were dismissed, yet the middle management of the Ukrainian Security Service, known by its SBU acronym, and law enforcement structures still hold their positions. Some of them are still working for Russia, Malomuzh believes.
He believes dozens of Russian agents in the SBU work in Kyiv and a few operate in the regions. “A scant 0.001 percent of Russian agents among the 45,000 on the SBU staff are enough to betray the state’s interests,” adds the former foreign intelligence chief.
The large number of police officers in Donbas that quickly started cooperating with the separatists make the whole security situation even worse. “Donetsk and Luhansk police are sabotaging commands from the center,” former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Viktoriya Siumar said on April 29.
Military expert Dmytro Tymchuk, who heads the Kyiv-based Center for Military and Political Studies, considers local police units to be a weak link in combating Russian-backed guerillas, estimating that 70 percent of the Donetsk police support the rebels. “A Ukrainian police officer gets $300 a month while a Russian police employee receives $1,200. That’s why the traitors (among Ukrainian police) want to become part of Russia,” Tymchuk wrote on his facebook page on April 14.
Lawmakers from Ukraine’s Communist Party, Party of Regions and the For Peace and Stability factions which many say represent the pro-Kremlin lobby in Ukraine’s parliament are not expected to challenge Russian aggression. “Those lawmakers might block the tribune, block the adoption of European integration laws and they will obviously prevent any law that is disadvantageous to the Kremlin (from being adopted),” political analyst Oleksiy Haran says adding that pro-Russian lawmakers spread Moscow’s propaganda in mass media, which promotes separatism. Continue reading