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Vladimir Putin activates plan B, "sleeper agents" are set in motion in Ukraine, here's how the intelligence network works and why Russia definitely wants to change the game in 4 months
Written by Marsela Shytia 29 Nëntor 2023
When all other methods fail, Vladimir Putin turns to his "favorites", which apparently are also what he knows how to do best, as a former KGB agent. It activates spies, said to be "cells" spread throughout the world. Recently, their focus is Ukraine. In the last two months, Moscow has activated a network of sleeper agents in Ukraine to further destabilize the country, according to Ukrainian national security adviser Oleksiy Danilov interviewed by the "Sunday Times". Russian agents, infiltrating various public institutions, including Ukraine's internal security service, the SBU, are allegedly tasked with undermining the country's unity. Recognizing the military challenges, Danilov asserted that Russia's focus has shifted to domestic destabilization because "they understand that they cannot win militarily."
Tensions in Ukraine
Despite Ukraine maintaining a united front in the first 20 months of Russian occupation, recent weeks have seen growing divisions. This weekend, Russia launched its most extensive drone attack on Kiev since the beginning of the occupation, using 75 Iranian-made Shahed drones. Although most were reportedly intercepted, several people, including an 11-year-old child, were injured in the attacks. General Valery Zaluzhni, the commander-in-chief of the army, declared that there was a military stalemate in a recent interview with The Economist, and President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately denied that statement. Danilov found that Russian agents were exploiting perceived tensions between Zelensky and Zaluzhny by spreading false stories to create a rift between political and military leaders. In addition, efforts are being made to incite anti-government sentiments among the population. In an article for the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, Danilov highlighted Russia's intention to push Ukraine into "a state of statelessness and anarchy, similar to the period from 1917 to 1921". The goal is to create a negative public background, encouraging despair and depression and reducing confidence in victory.
Activation of agents
The activation of the sleeper agents followed Russia's limited gains on the battlefields of the Eastern Front during the summer and autumn offensives. Danilov suggested Putin is eager for success ahead of Russia's presidential election in March. Acknowledging past failures to purge security systems of traitors, Danilov criticized the continued operation of remnants of the KGB within the SBU since 1991. He cited the infiltration of the security service during Viktor Yanukovych's 2010-2014 presidency, underlining the ongoing trial of the former head of the Crimean SBU, Oleh Kulinich, on charges of high treason, as evidence of long-term traitors. Danilov, during an unannounced visit to London, discussed victory strategies with various security and military officials. Ukraine is concerned about possible Russian attacks on energy infrastructure during the winter. A report by Britain's Defense Intelligence Agency suggests Russia may deploy air-launched cruise missiles from its fleet of heavy bombers to target critical national infrastructure.
Besides Ukraine, Russian "sleeper" spies are in many countries in Europe and America. The British media "The Guardian" has written that Moscow has begun to use "sleeper cells" implanted in Western countries or unofficial agents and operatives, people of third nationalities or "illegals", Russians who may have spent years of the whole, without doing any intelligence work. "Illegals" are the legacy of a Soviet program, recalls the British newspaper, which cites several episodes such as the arrest, last year alone, of at least seven suspected illegals in Norway, Brazil, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Greece. Some managed to escape, possibly to Russia, some others are still under arrest in the West.