Ukraine Invasion Day 770: How Russia Recruits Ukrainian Spies Through Blackmail

Ukraine Invasion Day 770: How Russia Recruits Ukrainian Spies Through Blackmail

In the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the two warring parties also rely on spies who are supposed to provide information about the other side. The Washington Post is now reporting on how Moscow is trying to recruit them (source here). And in some cases this also includes blackmail.

The Washington Post was able to view videos, documents and text messages that the Ukrainians and the country’s secret service provided to the newspaper and show how that recruitment sometimes works. There is, for example, the soldier who was on duty at the front when the Russians arrested his parents in occupied eastern Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, they were tortured. A Russian agent then threatened the soldier: Either you work for us or your family will suffer even more. The soldier agreed and was to poison a military command in the Zaporizhia region, but the attack was thwarted and the spy was accused of treason.

But apparently there are also completely normal citizens who must be recruited in this way. Like Yana. Her mother was a border guard in the Kharkiv region and she was arrested after the occupation. They then contacted Yana through her mother’s phone, initially in a polite manner. But when she refused to provide information about military equipment in the region, the tone changed. “The Russians are angry,” the Washington Post quotes a news story. “There is a woman and many men,” said another.

According to the report, another case involved an elderly man the Russians had captured and whose son they wanted to recruit to spy for the other side. He was then contacted via Telegram and received a photo of his father, completely emaciated. The next message: “If you want your father to live, you have to work for us.”

Russia’s blackmail method is not new. However, the Russian war of aggression caused it to spread much further, writes the Washington Post.

The most important news of the day:

  • Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was open to another special fund in the debate on defense financing. “We have already created a special fund, that would be a possibility. There is a possibility that we define the security budget issue differently.”, said the green politician. More here.
  • According to a newspaper article, American security authorities directly warned the Russian side of a possible terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert hall in Moscow. The Washington Post cited unnamed US government sources in its report on Tuesday (US local time). More here.
  • In light of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland are urging even greater arming in Europe. “We must use the full industrial potential of our continent to improve our military capabilities,” wrote Annalena Baerbock, Stéphane Séjourné and Radoslaw Sikorski in a guest article in Politico. More here.
  • After many doubts, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyj, accepted that reservists can be recruited from the age of 25. So far 27 years have passed. This makes it possible for two more cohorts to be called up for the ongoing war with Russia. More here.
  • According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia is preparing to mobilize 300,000 more troops. This should happen before June 1, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted the president as saying. The Russian leaders themselves have not yet announced such a mobilization. More in our news blog.
  • Finland and Ukraine conclude agreement on long-term security cooperation and support. Finnish President Alexander Stubb signs the agreement during his visit to Ukraine. “The ten-year agreement is proof of Finland’s long-term commitment to supporting Ukraine,” says the Finnish Presidential Office.
  • Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ambitions to return to the highest state office, although voting is currently not possible due to the Russian war of aggression. “If you ask me if I would like to participate in the next elections, yes,” the former head of state told Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera.
  • Russia attacked Ukraine with more than 3,000 guided bombs in March, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky. There were also attacks with 600 drones and 400 rockets. Russia has increased its airstrikes over the past two weeks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which had already been damaged by previous bombings.
  • According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Ukraine will definitely become a member of the Western defense alliance. “The question is not if, but when,” Stoltenberg told reporters in the run-up to the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting.
  • Ukraine’s security service says it arrested agents who allegedly wanted to blow up military trains in the Kharkiv region on behalf of Russian military intelligence. The suspects were apparently scouting routes for Ukrainian military units to Lyman.
  • In Kharkiv, the construction of the world’s first underground school was completed. It must meet the highest safety standards and be designed to teach 900 students in two shifts. Construction work lasted six months.

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