The SBU has opened 52 treason cases in 2020 / Photo from facebook.com/SecurSerUkraine

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has launched 52 criminal proceedings since the beginning of the year to probe high treason along with 27 cases investigating the creation of terrorist groups or organizations.

Two cases each were opened to investigate sabotage, espionage and terrorist attacks, as reported by the SBU's press center.

Read alsoSBU detains member of notorious 'Vostok Battalion' involved in Donetsk airport battles

In most cases, the investigations were to expose Russian special service agents involved in intelligence and subversive operations against Ukraine.

In particular, Valeriy Shaitanov, the ex-head of the A Squadron of the Special Operations Center, who was detained in April, is facing treason and terrorism charges, as he was in contact with a colonel of Russia's FSB and passed on intelligence information to him, including about operations in the Anti-Terrorist Operation / Joint Forces Operation zone in Donbas.

"A person who led a group of agents of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces was also notified of suspicion. The former Ukrainian serviceman was recruited when he was in the [Russia-]occupied part of Luhansk region. After this, he and three other individuals gathered intelligence information about [Ukraine's] military facilities in Volyn," the SBU said.

In addition, the SBU prevented the transfer by a resident of Luhansk region of secret technical documentation related to domestic aerospace and defense technology. The suspect turned out to be an agent of the Russian special services. He was detained while trying to transfer data to FSB representatives.

In total, 221 criminal cases have been opened based on the SBU's counterintelligence materials since the beginning of the year.

During this period, 73 offenders were jailed; of them, 21 verdicts were given in treason cases.

In particular, ex-law enforcement officer Oleh Smorodinov, who, on the instructions of the FSB, murdered head of the Rivne detention center Ivan Mamchur, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the SBU said.

Two Ukrainian citizens were sentenced to 12 years in prison for a terrorist attack in Mariupol as a result of which SBU Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberyush was killed. The two acted on the instructions of the so-called "Special Operations Center under the MGB State Security Ministry" of the Russian-controlled terrorist organization "Donetsk People's Republic."

In addition, an agent of Russia's FSB who in July 2020 attempted to blow up containers with ammonia at PrJSC Severodonetsk Azot Association was sentenced to 10 years in prison with confiscation of property.

A Chinese citizen, a professor of Xi'an Modern Chemistry Research Institute, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on espionage charges – he collected classified information on developments of facilities of Ukraine's defense industry.

More SBU-related news reports: