Head of the State Security Administration of Ukraine Valery Geletey says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin was not warned of a special operation aimed to thwart an assassination attempt on Russian journalist and Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv in order to avoid possible leaks via communications channels.
"I would do the same if I were head of the special service. The foreign minister was on an official visit [abroad], while communication channels vary – closed, secured, and mobile ones. Russian intelligence is operating not only in Ukraine, but also in embassies and almost everywhere else. We realize that there could have been information leas, which would primarily have harmed the efforts of special services," he told journalists.
According to the official, Russia's contractor of Babchenko's assassination believed that the journalist was indeed killed. "If you look at the reaction in Russia, it seems that they had everything prepared beforehand. Having received a go-ahead, Russia's special services and representatives of the Russian president began commenting on the incident, that is, they were waiting for it. I got an impression that even the Russian news pieces had already been drafted," Geletey said.
Read alsoMan charged with assassination attempt on Babchenko arrested for 60 days without bailAccording to him, such operations in Ukraine has been conducted before. Geletey reminded that during Viktor Yushchenko's presidency in 2006, special services staged the murder of one of the bankers. The assassin's paymaster was detained in the United States with the assistance on the part of the FBI.
"They showed the highest professionalism. The only thing lacking is going to Russia and taking the next step. This special operation was carried out step by step. First, there was an order [for the hit], then its confirmation. Following that, there was a payment and another order. It's a shame that the contractor is in Russia, and if it were possible for the [operation] group to go to Moscow, we would see more detained and arrested high profile individuals," he added.
As UNIAN reported, the SBU Security Service of Ukraine thwarted an assassination ploy on Russian journalist and Kremlin critic Arkady Babchenko in Kyiv, having staged his murder on May 29. According to the SBU, Russian special services recruited a Ukrainian national to murder Babchenko. He received $40,000 for organizing the crime. The organizer offered a former participant in the Anti-Terrorist Operation to kill the journalist for $30,000 and handed him over the advance payment of $15,000. Law enforcers detained the organizer, who reported on plans to murder 30 people in Ukraine. The organizer, under instructions of Russian special services, was also supposed to illegally purchase weapons to plant arms caches in central Ukraine.
Read alsoKlimkin says was "not aware" of SBU sting operation while addressing UNSC May 29Boris German, Executive Director of the Ukrainian-German JV Schmeisser, the only non-state enterprise licensed to manufacture weapons in Ukraine, is suspected of organizing an assassination attempt on Babchenko. Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district court on May 31 warranted the prosecutors' motion and placed German under arrest for two months without bail.
On May 29, at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York, Klimkin said that Moscow had always considered Babchenko an enemy and was using various tactics to destabilize Ukraine through terrorist acts, sabotage, and political assassinations.
Later, Klimkin explained that, while addressing the UN Security Council, he was not aware of the special operation by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies related to Babchenko.