Fighters from Ukraine’s ultranationalist battalions, integrated into the National Guard, have been implicated in grizzly criminal acts against captured Russian soldiers, Ukrainian civilians, and even their fellow servicemen. Their ideological “cousins” in Russia have apparently been plotting similar crimes, Vladimir Putin has revealed.
Russia knows the names of Western intelligence personnel curating the Ukrainian security services, who are being encouraged to engage in criminal acts inside Russia, including through attacks on well-known journalists, President Vladimir Putin has announced.
“This morning, the organs of the Federal Security Service [FSB] prevented an attempt by a terrorist group to kill a well-known Russian journalist. Of course they will deny this now, but the facts and the evidence are irrefutable”, Putin said at a briefing with officials from the Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.
“Since they are failing to achieve their goals in the [Russian] information space – bamboozling their own citizens, of course, by using their monopolistic position in the information space in their own countries and some other nations, but failing here, in Russia, they have switched to a policy of terror – to preparations to kill our journalists. And here it should be noted that we know the names of the curators from Western services, primarily of course, from the US Central Intelligence Agency, who work with Ukrainian security agencies, and who, apparently, give such advice”, Putin said.
“Here is their attitude toward the rights of journalists, to the dissemination of information, to human rights in general. They care only about their own rights -someone from their imperial ambitions, someone else [out of habit] from colonial times. But this won’t work in Russia”, he assured.
Putin asked investigators to gather details on such crimes, identify their organisers and perpetrators, and collect the necessary evidence to engage in court proceedings, including in international courts.
“I want to emphasize that such a base of evidence should be gathered for all the crimes of the neo-Nazis and their accomplices, starting with the 2014 coup in Kiev, which paved the way for civil war, bloodshed and violence in Ukraine,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the FSB announced that they had arrested members of “National Socialism/White Power”, an international neo-Nazi group that planned to assassinate Vladimir Solovyev, a well-known television and radio journalist and Putin ally. Multiple members of the group, all of them Russian nationals, were said to have been planning Solovyev’s murder on the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine. The detained members of the group have already “given confessions” on their plans, and revealed that they planned to flee abroad afterwards, the FSB said.
After carrying out searches of the detainees’ homes, investigators found an improvised explosive device, eight Molotov Cocktails, six pistols, a sawed off hunting rifle, an RGD-5 grenade and over a thousand rounds of ammunition of various calibres, narcotics, fake Ukrainian passports, and a variety of far right literature and paraphernalia, the FSB said.
Evidence in the case continues to be collected. “National Socialism/White Power” was deemed a terrorist organisation by the Russian Supreme Court in May 2021, with its activities banned throughout the country.
During Monday’s briefing, Putin also commented on other issues, demanding decisive measures to stop provocations against the Russian military by foreign media, and saying that sowing division in Russian society and trying to break the country up from the inside were among the West’s main priorities. So far, these efforts have failed, he said.
Putin also discussed economic and business matters, asking state organs to allow those foreign companies that have stayed in Russia despite facing pressure to leave to operate in peace, and ordering them to protect business in general from “excessive control” by the state. He also encouraged the prosecutor’s office to hone in on problems in areas like the labour market and housing and communal services – two areas where corruption and non-fulfilment of contracts by employers have negatively impacted the lives of ordinary citizens.