Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine’s Influence Operations Against Europe

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Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

IMAGE: ukr-leaks.com

Vasily Prozorov, a former Ukrainian special services officer, published on his website UkrLeaks a two-parts investigation about information and propaganda operations of Ukraine in Western countries.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine’s Influence Operations Against Europe. Part 1 (source):

It has happened on my career that I had to probe, directly or indirectly, a specific area, which is normally called “strategic communications” abroad. It sounds up-to-date and, you may agree or not, completely harmless. But if this verbal camouflage is removed, one can see nothing else but the good old propaganda in the broadest sense of the word. It accompanies secret pure interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

You should avoid being surprised at what propaganda all about. It is obviously not supposed to be “the invention and prerogative of the Kremlin”, as all major countries are engaged in this activity, so is even Ukraine. Still many different euphemisms have been used to mask their effect on minds and subconscious of the target audience.

Ukraine today is in many aspects a country of paradoxes. It especially appears when it comes to history, corruption, and relations with other countries. Let’s take a look at how Ukrainians view Vladimir Lenin’s political life. The leader of the Global proletariat allowed Ukraine to annex in 1918-1925 the lands of present-day Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Odessa and other regions that had never belonged to it. Apparently the Ukrainian people should thank him. But “true patriots” demolished his monuments all over the country in a bloody huff. They also say that the USSR occupied Ukraine forgetting that the men from the Ukrainian SSR, N.Khrushchev and L.Brezhnev are meant here, had ruled the Union for almost 30 years. So, the question of who occupied whom is up to debate.

The Ukrainian authorities regularly take money from EU on parole to combat, for example, corruption. The funds are being normally stolen. They create new anti-corruption structures – SAPO, NABU, SBI, and etc. – that eventually turn into paper shops where you can open or close any case for a certain amount of money. So even the strictest western pragmatists have been unable to do anything about it for years. They don’t want to give money anymore, because it’s useless. But they can’t leave Ukraine they have hooked on credits, or it will be even worse.

There is yet another paradox, which I will discuss in detail. It concerns the sphere of propaganda. Since 2014, Western countries have started to invest in the Ukrainian establishments to deal with strategic communications, information operations, and other propaganda related activities. A large role was assigned to the training of Ukrainian specialists by foreign instructors. The main targeted audience was the Russian and Ukrainian population. But the Ukrainians, as always, outsmarted everyone and began to actively practice information and psychological operations against the population, the leadership, and even the special services of Western countries. Sometimes this was done openly, and sometimes in secret, away from their bosses. The West actually paid for propaganda against itself. But first things first.


Foreign instructors and advisors

After the February 2014 coup, the next country’s leadership was well aware that it would be difficult to stay in power without foreign support, because concern for the people and their welfare was clearly not on Kiev’s list. Therefore, Ukrainian politicians began to position the country as a victim of Russian “hybrid aggression” seeking comprehensive assistance from the West. This gave results, and Ukraine was flooded with numerous advisers and experts from Europe and the United States, especially in the defense and information spheres.

The military authorities and special services started to work under the tight control of their Western, primarily American, counterparts. The process of adopting the guidance materials to NATO standards began, and the concept of StratCom very quickly came into use in Ukraine. So, in September 2015, this term appeared in the country’s new military doctrine. It determined that StratCom is a coordinated and appropriate use of the state’s communication capabilities – public diplomacy, communications, psychological and information operations aimed at promoting the goals of the state. In the Doctrine, Russia was openly called the main military adversary of Ukraine.

At the same time, the roadmap for partnership in strategic communications between the National security and defense council of Ukraine and the International secretariat of NATO was signed. As part of this agreement, foreign instructors in information and psychological operations began to conduct training courses for Ukrainian colleagues.

I had the opportunity to study under the guidance of information warfare specialists from the Lithuanian special operations forces at the Zhytomyr Military Institute.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Certificate of completion of the “Basic course of psychological operations

Representatives from the former Soviet Republic actively “trained” officers of the information and psychological operations units (PSYOP), the Special Operations Forces (SOF) of the Armed Forces and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to influence hearts and minds.

I want to note that in addition to training of Ukrainian “neophytes” the Baltic “hot shots” did not forget about the mundane pleasures and openly approached women that were among the audience. Some will recognize Tatiana Romanova from the 74th PSYOP Center (Unit A-1277, Lvov) and Anastasia Bagriychuk from the 16th Center (Unit A-1182, Zhytomyr). I can’t say for sure about Romanova, but garrulous instructor Klaus quickly managed to find approaches to Nastya Bagriychuk, apparently with the help of his professional skills of suggestion and persuasion.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Tatyana Romanova, the officer of the 74th PSYOP Center (Lvov)

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Anastasia Bagriychuk, the officer of the 16th PSYOP Center (Zhytomyr)

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Anastasia Bagriychuk in January, 2014

And there were many similar training sessions. For example, new courses are currently being prepared under the name “Ukraine Peer-to-Peer. Disinformation challenge”. The training will be held from September to December, 2020, at the Kharkov National University. A special feature of this program will be the implementation of the “peer-to-peer” principle, which means that the teachers will be students who have already completed the course. About 60 military personnel from PSYOP Centers who completed training in the United States will share their experience on the theoretical foundations of information warfare and organization of the so called “color revolutions”.

The program is organized by the American consulting agency EdVenture Partners. The most interesting thing is that this company actively cooperates with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So the issue of suspending fake accounts by Facebook, which Ukrainian propagandists have always complained about, is likely to be resolved in the near future. So, fake news, which Donald Trump often talks about, is a flexible concept. Some people are banned and face public critique, and someone does not. After all, the fight against the “Russian aggression” will write everything off.

The Agency for International Development (USAID), a part of the U.S. State Department which was repeatedly tainted in funding “color revolutions”, will sponsor this educational program.


It’s obvious that the western countries wouldn’t finance information operations against themselves. Resources were allocated against Russian propaganda and misinformation. But Ukraine gets this money for other purposes. A good example is fight against corruption.

Meanwhile western countries allocate a lot of money for strategic communication systems. The United States is a leader of investments in this sphere. The USA allocated 275 million dollars in fight against Russian propaganda in 2019. It’s a really huge sum. The largest part of this sum was allocated for Ukraine to develop the “cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and electronic systems” and for the “fight against Russian propaganda and disinformation.”

There are tons of information in the Internet about anti-Russian projects sponsored by different funds, non-profit organisations and governmental structures. Here are some of them: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine; The Media Development Fund by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; Swedish International Liberal Centre; The International Renaissance Foundation, which was founded by George Soros and other foreign funds.

For example, Embassy of Germany in Ukraine together with Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine allocated half million dollars to television channel “Hromadske telebachennya” in 2015, which was the main media at “Maydan” in 2014.

“StopFake” project was supported by the International Renaissance Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Kiev and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.

Other active western media resources in Ukraine are “Internews Ukraine” and “Detector Media”. These media outlets got support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Atlantic Council, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Embassy of Sweden.

The Department of State allocated 10 million dollars to Ukraine for “cybersecurity” development in 2017. Later in 2020 Ukraine got more than 8 million dollars for the same purposes.

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) allocated 1 million dollars for promoting Internet freedom in Ukraine in 2019. “The program should build the knowledge and advocacy capacity of these groups in order to support cross-sector engagement on domestic Internet freedom issues and to combat regional and domestic threats to freedom of expression online,” DRL website said.

In March 2020 Ukraine got 38 million dollars grant from the United States for the “Ukraine National Identity Through Youth (UNITY) Activity.” According to the documents, five year-long cooperation between Ukrainian activists and USAID is intended to foster the Internet activity among youth, and collaboration with local leaders, buisinessmen and influencers in the Russian web.


The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (MIPU) was the executive body responsible for the implementation of the StratCom concept until August 29, 2019.

After the abolition of the Department, its functions have passed to the newly established Ministry of culture, youth and sports of Ukraine. And it should be noted that after Zelensky came to power, the information policy in the country has not changed that much. A striking example is the preparation of the so-called “law on misinformation”, developed on the basis of The presidential Decree “On urgent measures to implement reforms and strengthen the state” No. 837/2019 of November 08, 2019. In this Decree, the ministry was asked to “create a provision regarding the requirements and standards of news, mechanisms for the dissemination of false distorted information, to ban Russian representatives to own or finance media in Ukraine, as well as to provide for increased liability for violations of legislation on information.” So, censorship continues to gain momentum.

Among other organizations also engaged in information influence abroad are: the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Main Directorate of Intelligence, the PSYOP Centers of Special Operation Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Additionally, in April 2020, the Department of Strategic Communications was created in Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which became the successor of the Department of Communications and the Press. This branch is headed by Lieutenant Colonel Svetlana Pavlovskaya, who is also the Minister’s press secretary. According to governing documents, this military unit is a component of the national system of strategic communications which is intended to inform the public and the media, including foreign resources, about the activities of the MoD, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the State Special Transport Service, to inform Armed Forces’  personnel, to conduct information campaigns, etc. In a word, for propaganda aimed on both internal and external audiences.


Ministry of Information Policy

Ministry of Information Policy was also known as MinStets according to last name of the minister Yury Stets. This ministry was set up by a man who did not hide his devotion to neonazi ideology. Besides him I can name another two odious representatives in the administration of ministry. They are: Dmitry Zolotuhin, an ex-employee of the SBU, and Amine Dzhaparova, the journalist of the American propagandistic recourses “Radio Free Europe/Radio of Liberty” and “The Crimea. Reality”, who graduated from various courses, held by the U.S. Department of State. Technically this is all you need to know about this ministry in order to understand which area it was engaged in. However I will tell some more details about an external direction of its work.

One of the main goals of the Ministry of Information Policy was the building of the country’s positive image in the international field, first of all in the western countries. These tasks were framed in a number of state papers including the “Government medium-term priority action plan-2020” and the “Government activity plan-2017”.

Within the conception, the main efforts aimed on usage of three tools of strategic communication: public or people’s diplomacy, Ukraine diaspora abroad and “agents of influence”. To present day Ukrainian authority consider these “soft power” channels as the most effective way of influence on international public opinion which can help to build a positive image of country abroad.

It must be stressed that in terms of public diplomacy the ministry offered different ideas. One of them was to organize a sort of brand-tours, when buses with special logos on them (UkraineNOW) are sent to European countries. Аccording to the minister this type of advertising was supposed to attract European’s attention to modern image of Ukraine.

Another method offered to the “people’s diplomats” is a wide usage of the Ukrainian national symbols. If some of you were on vacation in Turkey, Egypt or in the European countries for the last five years you could notice the blatantly aggressive manner of Ukrainian tourists to demonstrate their national flag. They hang it on hotel balconies, beach chairs, use it as a cape on their shoulders while walking in the street. At first sight it looks like eccentric behavior of Ukraine tourists. But in fact it’s one of Kiev’s versions of StratCom which can help to promote Ukraine interests in the frame of My small part program. This initiative exhorts tourists who visit different countries to take photos with the Ukrainian flag and spread them in the social networks.

Another StratCom program is called “Grassroots”. Its goal is to search for the Ukrainian roots in biography of well-known persons who might be used further as “agents of influence” to spread the Ukrainian information messages.Scientists, writers, actors, military leaders and many others famous historical figures would be greatly astonished if they knew they were the Ukrainians by origin. But they would be more amazed at the aspiration of the new Ukrainian government to use “newly proselytized Ukrainians” in their own interests. Government in Kiev wants to show that Sergei Korolev, Igor Sikorsky, Feodor Dostoyevsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and even Queen of France Anna Yaroslavovna were outstanding representatives of the Ukrainian nation. Hereafter their names are used for the propaganda of modern ideas, profitable for the Ukrainian government.

One interesting fact about the University in Zhytomyr where I was trained on courses of specialists for information operations held by instructors from Lithuania is this University named after Sergei Korolev.

Another direction of the Ukrainian StratCom as mentioned above is to deal with the Ukrainian diaspora across the globe and using its capabilities to promote the interests of the Ukrainian government.

Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in particular the Ukrainians World Congress lends active support both to Ukrainian and world structures in fight against “Russian propaganda” attracting large number of their followers.

The activity of the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia is not as noticeable as for example in Canada. Nevertheless its representatives conduct active informational policy which is recommended by the Ukrainian government agencies. Here is one simple example which confirms this. In order to enter the Facebook group called “The Ukrainians of Russia” you need to answer two questions: “Who controls The Crimea?” and “What’s going on in the East of Ukraine?” If the answers weren’t “Ukraine” on first question and “Russian aggression” on the second, access to the group won’t be authorized.

“I’ll cut off my nose to spite my face” and other “useful idiots”

One of the first actions organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine after the dethronement of Yanukovich took place in Czech Republic. In March 2014 the owner of the Brioni Boutique Hotel situated in Czech Ostrava Tomas Krzmarzh refused to house Russian athletes who made a reservation. And then he completely refused to house any Russian citizens. He even put up a notice about it at the hotel’s entry.

Later under pressure of regulatory authorities Krzmarzh came to some terms. But he required written declaration from the Russians who was checking in the hotel where they were to express disagreement with the Russian reunion of Crimea. The so-called “patriotic merchant” was sanctioned by regulatory authorities because of people’s discrimination.

However, after a few years of trial Constitutional court of the Czech Republic removed all complaint against Krzmarzh.

But according to his own statement Tomas Krzmarzh has Ukrainian roots. In an effort to keep connection with native land he took part in official and unofficial meetings which were conducted by the Ukrainian Embassy in the Czech Republic. Besides he had contacts with diplomats who might be security officials of the Ukrainian intelligence under diplomatic cover.

I am sure that this act of the hotel’s owner wasn’t spontaneous. The idea was born in the Ukrainian Embassy which recieved orders from the new Ukrainian government in Kiev late in February and early in March. The main and urgent task was to get support among the international community of the coup d’etat in Ukraine and non-admission of the Crimea separation. This plan was executed in the Czech Republic with the help of a local resident who had been lobbed by diplomats for some time and had been greedy for compliments and gifts.

Actions of this gentleman were widely covered in the Ukrainian mass media at lightning speed. Journalists urged other owners of hotels to act like Tomas. Some of them even offered to give him a title of the Ukrainian Hero. And, certainly, they found some threats to the Czech “patriot of Ukraine” from “evil Russians” and “the KGB/FSB agents”. What can I say? One guideline for all occasions.

Referendum on the association of Ukraine and the EU in the Netherlands

The arrangements, Kiev held to affect the results of the Dutch referendum on the “Ukraine-EU” agreement of association, are a good example of using strategic communication methods against western countries.

They exerted integrated influence on the Dutchmen using two methods (as the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Policy states): governmental communications and public diplomacy. The Ukrainian government was represented by foreign minister Pavel Klimkin who was supposed to take part in the bike ride and try to persuade local citizens to support the agreement. Public diplomacy consisted of numerous Ukrainian activists and Klichko brothers, the worldwide known boxers. They were trying to make locals to give a hand to Ukraine in its strive to join the EU.

As the StratCom manuals require, the special services of Ukraine supported ‘peoples diplomats’ at the time of the referendum. As far as I know, the Ukrainian intelligence was to engage its agents in the Netherlands to disrupt the voting in case of negative tendency predominance for Kiev. Some groups of journalists were also supposed to create a negative reputation of the referendum and reduce the voting turnout. According to the local law the government can ignore results of the referendum if less than 30 percent of the population takes part in it.

What’s in the end? In spite of using lots of serious financial, human and organization resources, as StratCom requires, Ukraine could not bring its aims to life. People of the Netherlands voted against the “Ukraine-EU” agreement of association.

To create the visibility of a good way out from the failure of the Dutch campaign, Pavel Klimkin stated that results of the referendum would not change the decision of Ukraine to join the European Union. And Kiev decided to strengthen its complex of StratCom operations against Europe.

How to proclaim DPR/LPR the terrorist organizations

Continuing to upscale efforts on the informational front of the “European theatre of operations” official Kiev actively engaged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with special services. That sort of actions is named special information operations. This is necessary to hide aims and technique that are used for premeditated disinformation of foreign audience.

As an example that confirms the technology of the Ukrainian StratCom I’ll show you a document and will give my comments.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

A letter of minister of foreign affairs Pavel Klimkin to president Piotr Poroshenko (August 6, 2014), classification code – for official use only

Ukrainian foreign minister Klimkin offered president Poroshenko to focus propaganda efforts of all possible structures on presenting the DPR and LPR as terrorist organizations among the foreign publicity. He recommended prosecuting as many people as possible for violating the law under the articles connected with the terrorism. As the Ukrainian foreign minister considered, it would be easier to persuade the foreigners who were too censorious to the credibility of documents, if the Ukrainian courts rendered guilty verdicts on criminal cases like that.

The governments of the EU countries were the target audience in this operation. Artificially created arguments and press events had to persuade them.

Later Boris Lozhkin, the head of the presidential administration, gave instructions to SBU chief Valentin Nalivaichenko to “take appropriate measures that would provide the necessary legal reasoning of the inclusion” of the DPR and the LPR into the list of terrorist organizations of the EU.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

A letter of the Head of the Ukrainian presidential administration to the SBU

Here is the deal. Law enforcement bodies are ordered to provide maximum of possible quantity of verdicts on criminal cases connected with terrorism. In such a manner it was offered to label hundred thousands Ukrainian citizens as the supporters of “terrorist” organisations. And the repressive apparatus has started to work. Lots of evidence was falsified to blame people of terrorism. It is hard to construct more artful and mean psychological operation aimed at citizens of your own country. These cases often fell into pieces in court.

But the European Union still has not included the DPR and the LPR into the list of terrorist organizations, so Ukraine could not gather enough evidence to blame its citizens in terrorism.

Misinformation of the OSCE on the situation in the combat zone

Here is another example demonstrating the technologies of the Ukrainian StratCom.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

A letter of the minister of foreign affairs to other Ukrainian governmental bodies

The internal document shows that foreign minister applied to the governmental institutions of Ukraine with a request to find counterarguments against charges which the OSCE mission prepared as a result of its work in the combat area. Enumerating real facts in their letter, the Ukrainian diplomats quoted the word “charges” on purpose and demonstrated their slighting to the position of the OSCE.

Meanwhile, international supporters recorded serious violations from the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The document describes the facts of combat operations in the inhabited localities, ceasefire violations, disposition of the heavy artillery inside the inhabited localities.

It is directly stated that the prepared “excuses” would be used by Ukraine to deny any charges against it.

Should we be surprised then, that foreign ministers of the OSCE member-countries could not take a common statement on the results of the work of the mission in Ukraine? This time Kiev managed to neutralize negative assessment of its military activities in Donbass region and to protrude a comfort opinion to western countries.

The second part of the investigation will expose secret activities of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Main Directory of Intelligence (GUR), and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) that affected people and the governments of western countries, particularly the Czech Republic and Poland.


  • Pyotr Poroshenko is a Ukrainian oligarch, the President of Ukraine in 2014-2019.
  • Boris Lozhkin is a Ukrainian businessman and politician, head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine (June 2014-August 2016).
  • Valentin Nalivaychenko is a former Chairman of the security Service of Ukraine (in 2006-2010 and in 2014-2015).
  • Pavel Klimkin is a former Minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine (in 2014-2019).
  • Andrey Plahotniuk is a Director of the Department of countering threats from the Russian Federation of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Yuriy Stets is a former Minister of information policy of Ukraine (in 2014-2019).
  • Dmitri Zolotukhin is a former Deputy Minister of Information Policy (in 2017-2019), former employee of the SBU.
  • Amine Dzhaparova is a former first Deputy Minister of information policy (in 2016-2019), a graduate of various leadership courses of the US state Department, a journalist of the American propaganda resources “Radio Liberty” and “Crimea.Realities”.
  • Anastasia Bagriychuk is 16th PSYOP center officer, Unit A-1182, Zhytomir
  • Tatyana Romanova is 74th PSYOP officer, Unit A-1277, Lvov


  • The National Security and Defense Council (SNBO) is a coordinating body under the President of Ukraine on national security and defense issues.
  • The Ministry of foreign Affairs (MFA) is a state executive authority of Ukraine that implements state policy in the field of foreign relations of Ukraine with other states, as well as with international organizations.
  • The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (MIPU) is a state executive authority in the area of ensuring information sovereignty of Ukraine and controlling the dissemination of socially important information in Ukraine and abroad.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is a special purpose law enforcement agency intended to ensure the country’s state security. Subordinates to the President of Ukraine.
  • The foreign intelligence service of Ukraine (SVR) is a state authority of Ukraine that carries out intelligence in the political, economic, military-technical, scientific-technical, information and environmental areas.
  • The Department of strategic communications is a division of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine designed to counter aggressive information influences and implement the unified information policy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
  • The Main Intelligence Directorate is a military intelligence agency of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
  • Psychological operations centers (PSYOP) – military units of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, responsible for conducting information wars.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine’s Influence Operations Against Europe. Part 2 (source):

Secret operations of influence Ukrainian conducted autonomously or under the direction of еру Western advisors make a profound interest for investigators.

The crash of Malaysian Boeing-777 over Donbass can be called the biggest and possibly the most successful and cynical campaign of Ukrainian and British special services, launched to influence the international community and leaders of foreign countries.

I described in details the long and careful process of preparations to this provocation in my documentary. The authorities left the air space above the conflict zone opened on purpose, despite the use of their own combat aviation in the Donbass and an obvious threat to civilian airplanes.

The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine commenced to publish falsified operations maps in advance and diminished the size of territories controlled by the Ukrainian Army.

The Security Service of Ukraine prepared fabricated audio recordings of the telephone conversations by militia in advance.

The British secret services sent two agents to the battle zone. They monitored the operation preparations on the spot. SBU officers General Kondratyuk and Lieutenant-Colonel Vasily Burba accompanied them.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine removed the 2nd battalion of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment from combat duty in Mariupol and secretly relocated it to the zone where Boeing was downed. I think it was exactly the unit that launched a missile.

It is possible that there was another element of this complicated operation made in many ways. Lots of people of Donbass, who I spoke to about this tragedy, said that they saw warplanes in the air that day. I assume the pilots were supposed to confirm the fact of the destroying of the airliner or to push the matter through in case the ground-to-air missile rocket misses.

This provocation allowed Ukraine and its western patrons to justify sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, they failed to achieve all goals of this operation. As far as I know, Western countries planned to use the tragedy to bring their troops to the territory of Ukraine. Luckily, this has never happened.

The Ukraine’s hackers continued their attempts to discredit Russia and launched in 2015 cyber attacks on the online assets of the Dutch Security Council. It was stated that the purpose of the attack was to obtain data on the progress of the investigation in the MH-17 case. The hacking was carried out in phishing way meaning to send emails to persuade employees of the Institution to enter their authorization data on a fake site. After this manipulation, hackers usually get the username and password to log in to the system. Hackers registered a domain onderzoekraad.nl, which was different from the address of the real Security Council server onderzoeksraad.nl only one letter “s”. Trend Micro IT-company, that conducted investigation, blamed Russian hackers in the report but gave no evidence as well. Their proves were made in the way that only Russians use phishing attacks and create fake sites that imitate the real ones.

However, this explanation is only suitable for people who are completely uninformed in computer technologies. A simple search on Google showed me that any phishing attack, and there are tens of millions of them all over the world annually, follows a similar pattern. Trend Micro is a large and well-known company; I don’t think it was a good idea to bring accusations basing on insufficient conclusions.

Since then, Ukraine has staged similar cyber provocations repeatedly. I will tell you how some of them were conducted, and who stands behind them.


State hackers

In recent years, regular hacking units have been created in the Security Service and the Armed forces of Ukraine with the support of the NATO countries. They transferred about one million euros for this purpose from 2017 to 2019.

For example, it is well known for January, 2018 the Situation Center for Cyber Security was established in the SBU’s Department of Counterintelligence and Cyber Security. It was established with the money of the Ukraine-NATO Trust Fund. Later, regional cyber centers have been formed in Sumy, Dnepr and Odessa on the basis of the SBU regional directorates’ cyber departments. For example, in Sumy, the cyber division is located in a three-story building behind the the SBU Directorate in Sumy region at 32 Gerasim Kondratiev street. Romanian intelligence service and the state IT company “Rasirom RA” provided the center with technical equipment They also provide training for Ukrainian employees. One of the SBU groups was trained in Romania in May and June 2019.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Office of the SBU Directorate in Sumy region

There is a special type of intelligence operations called “intelligence of cybernetics” in the information Department of the Administration of the Border Guard of Ukraine (border intelligence is hidden under this cover). These hackers specialize in infiltrating the migration, military, and customs structures of neighboring countries.

In addition, the Communications and Cyber Security Forces Command was created in the Armed Forces of Ukraine in February 2020 according to NATO standards. The tasks of this structure, among other things, will include countering Russian propaganda and conducting cyber attacks on important state and military facilities in Russia, including management systems, financial institutions, industrial and energy enterprises, railway stations, airports and others.

According to some reports, the Centers of information and psychological operations from the Special Operations Forces may be transferred to the new structure, and several divisions will be created on their basis, following the example of the NATO cyber centers.

Building of testing cyber ground is also planned within the Cyber Command of the Ukrainian Army. Korolev’s Zhytomyr military Institute can become one of the possible places for its deployment. It is planned to test tools of cyber intelligence and to identify vulnerabilities in local networks.

Major-General Yevgeny Stepanenko, the former Head of the Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization (MITI), took the lead of the Cyber Command. This institutionof Higher education trains professionals of computer technologies for all Ukrainian special services. Earlier, in an interview to Ukrainian media, Stepanenko boasted of his cadets’ victories at the world-famous “Hackathon” competitions, and stated that hackers “who fight at a distance using networks” graduated from the MITI “cyber security faculty”.

Freelance hackers

While working for the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), I had a well-informed source, represented by an employee of the Special Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), and then the Special Operations Forces of the UAF. I’ll call him “Victor”, because he is currently on the territory of Ukraine. “Victor” had information about a group of civilian hackers who carried various recon tasks. Most part of this team members live in Odessa.

A part of the information gained by the hackers of Odessa “Victor” haded over to me for further management by the SBU. I should say there was a lot of information. I reported about my cooperation with him to Colonel Kuznetsov, the Chief of the Anti-Terrorist Center Staff.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Main intelligence Department’s hackers operations Report

These “computer geniuses” hacked hundreds of electronic mailboxes belonging to various state structures of the DPR-LPR and Russia, and ordinary citizens as well, including military personnel, officials, public and political figures.

They didn’t disdain to hack the mail of commercial structures, pursuing their own interests. They were not afraid of responsibility, as they had some kind of indulgence: their activities were covered by such a powerful agency as the Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR). By the way, there were mailboxes of employees of Burisma company among the hundreds of hacked boxes in the list, that “Victor” transferred to me. However, at that time, this title did not mean anything to me. I’m going to tell you about it later on.

These individuals hacked boxes in various western countries. After gaining access, they created so-called “mirrors” of mailboxes and thus could receive copies of the hacked subscriber’s emails for a long time and regularly read their correspondence.

Once “Victor” told me that the GUR managed to obtain important information about the work of the border guard of Poland, Police department of Romania and even break into the database of the Social Security Administration of one of the U.S. states just the same way. When I asked if they were afraid of responsibility for same actions, “Victor” said that hackers worked under Russian IP addresses and even if their cyber attack was detected, the traces would still point to Russia.

By the way, NATO instructors from Lithuania told us about the same tactics at the Information and Psychological Operation training cours. They explicitly told us that one of the ways to create a negative image of Russia is  launching cyber attacks on the Western countries establishments and leaving deliberate traces of Moscow’s involvement.

For example, in 2014-2015, when purchasing servers and domain names, hackers from Odessa used the following personal data:

Dirk Lookoor, Irkutsk, Petrov street, 11, +72759345287

Oleg Kabanov, Moscow, Lenin street, 24, 63, +74953578569

Rustem Ibragimov, Moscow, Rustaveli street, 14 +74967877473

These cyber attacks themselves are effectless, they don’t cause damage. But this is exactly what no one demands of them. The main task is to mislead the European citizens and discredit Moscow.

As far as I know, the payment was made in Bitcoins. They usually used the domains4bitcoins.com service to conduct transactions.

If it was a phishing attack, they registered domain names that looked like well-known resources. For example, a domain “imstogran.ru” was rented to hack Instagram accounts, as “odrokllasiniki.ru” was used for Odnoklassniki social media hacking and etc.

Odessa hacker group rented servers by “Rn Data” data center in Riga for most of their cyber attacks. Raitis Nugumanovs owned it.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Raitis Nugumanovs

Hackers used software by Anton Gorbov, a Russian developer, his network nickname Cerebrum. In 2012 he developed his own hacking tools to break into mailboxes.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Anton Gorbov

Lieutenant-Colonel Valery Seleznev, an officer of the Second Department of GUR, was a coordinator of the Odessa’s hackers. He used to give instructions and tasks to them, and received information and docs from them. He reported directly to the Head of the Department.

At that time, the head of the GUR, Major-General Pavlov, didn’t understand the value of the information received and was distrustful to new methods of intelligence. The obtained information has been restored at the GUR servers and remained unused.

For this reason Seleznev, his chief and several other officers were looking for the best use of this data – in the Special Operations Forces of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine and by the SBU.

This is the way I began to receive some data from the hackers in Odessa.

The situation turned totally after Valery Kondratyuk took over the GUR in July 2015. He moved to this high position from the Head of the SBU’s Counterintelligence Department. Vasily Burba soon became his deputy. They realized the importance of the freelance hackers cooperating with the intelligence. Burba personally supervised this sector and gave tasks and directed the hackers.

I believe that Kondratyuk and Burba began to engage hackers for not only mailboxes operations, but also to conduct more complex cyber attacks, which were a part of large-scale special information operations. Cooperation with civilian hackers go on. I know perfectly of the 2019-2020 high-resonant attacks by the Ukrainian hackers. Here’s some of them in details.

Czech Republic, Konev, COVID-19 and Ukrainian hackers

In 2020, U.S. and Ukrainian security services conducted an operation to influence public opinion and the military-political leadership of Europe through hacking attacks on the Czech Ministry of Health and hospitals involved in the fight against coronavirus. Ukrainian traces were first indicated in the publication by the Moscow Komomolets.

Early in April 2020 the relationships between Moscow and Prague became strained because of dismantling the monument to Marshall Konev. On April 16 Ukrainian special services attacked some facilities of the Czech Ministry of Healthcare.

Immediately, American intelligence became involved, who naturally knew that other attacks were being prepared, and on the same day reported it to their Czech colleagues. The fact that Americans completely control all special services of Ukraine is no longer a secret, I know about it completely.

It was announced that on April 17 hackers carried a number of cyber attacks on Gavel Airport in Prague and a few local city hospitals.

On April 20, the Czech People’s Newspaper, a part of the Prime Minister Babish’s media corporation, suddenly accused Russian security services of attacks with reference to (!) unnamed sources in the National Secret Sector. At the same time, the leadership of the Republic and the head of the National Cyber Security Committee, General Rzhech, refused to confirm this information, obviously in order to avoid later accusations of unfounded allegations.

On the same day, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Eugene Pereyinis, the former chief propagandist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ex-head of the Department of Information Policy), pleased himself to discover the entire provocation. He was the first of all foreign officials to directly blame Russia and offered Prague assistance to investigate incidents and as well as deter Russian threats. Further, Ukrainian propaganda media were actively involved, they launched their fake press campaign of Russia’s aggression at full power.

Ukrainian hackers tried their best to leave traces that could somehow cast a shadow on Russia. What did they do for that?

As it was voiced, the main narrative stuck around the Russian ownership of IP-addresses the attack was carried out from. But even I, actually having no sophisticated computer expertise, know that hackers always hide their real IPs. And it is not difficult to do it at all (12) . For this purpose, they, for example, use various VPN services, as ordinary residents of Ukraine do to enter “Odnoklassniki” and “Vkontakte.” Therefore, Russian IP-addresses are rather a hint to the fact that Russia was framed.

Naturally, the security services and cybersecurity experts know this perfectly well. Therefore, I consider the statements of Mr. Dvorzhek, the technical director of the prominent ESET company, so-called “Russian trace” politically engaged. If he was under the rink of the U.S. security services, I can only sympathize with him. They will definitely never get off him.
Some Russian-language computer viruses and hacking manuals were also mentioned as arguments. Here Ukrainian specialists showed themselves, for whom Russian is actually the second native language. I can say on my own that no matter how much forced we were in the SBU to make documents in Ukrainian, most employees still spoke Russian.

I think all this provocation was dominated by American intelligence agencies. The Western trail was clearly evident when the media, apparently to strengthen the effect, distributed information about the arrival of “killers” from Russia in Prague, who were going to eliminate the head of the Prague’s districts named Kolarge, who was the initiator of the Konev monument demolition.

Obviously, readers had to draw parallels with the Skripals case and finally make sure of Russia’s involvement and evil intent. But it was a clear outlier. These media injections brought the whole story to the absurd and completely revealed the true goals of the provocation.

As to the Ukrainians they must play a role of a “dirt scratcher” in the eyes of American and British intelligence organizations. It would help them not to “foul hands”.

Ukrainian propaganda resources, such as Inforesist, Gromadsk, Odessa Courier, as well as the blogger, named Alexander Kovalenko, AKA “Evil Odessa”, who works for the security services, were engaged in the media support. They were the first in Ukraine to publish allegations against Russia and regularly made  updates as the scandal progressed. The Centers for information and psychological operations of the Ukrain’s SSO have also contributed. 83rd CIPSO (Odessa), which was recently fully disclosed on the Internet, worked on this topic using accounts, for example, on the Enigma portal.

Hacking Burisma. Attack that didn’t happen

Similarly, Ukrainian security services and their hackers have become embroiled in Americans domestic political games.

In January 2020, the little-known Area 1 IT company of American origin published a short report about how hackers tried to access computers of Ukrainian Burisma gas production company. Russia was appointed responsible for the cyber attack. The entire evidence, as usual, was only made up around the Russians use to do so, and only Russian hackers necessarily needed Hunter Biden compromised. Why should Burisma computers have discrediting evidence to a son of the ex-VP of the U.S.? Read about it in one of my previous investigations here.

After the publication of a minor report with absolutely unfounded accusations, all U.S. media sympathetic to Democrats reported to the public about Trump’s ties to Russian hackers and the Russian government. Naturally, no “independent” American journalist was confused that this report and its authors were tied to the main beneficiary of this scandal – the Democratic Party of the United States.

Oren Falcowitz, the Area 1 CEO, is a donor of the Democrats as well as a cyber security consultant for Biden’s campaign. He was previously an employee of the US Cyber Command and the NSA. Moreover, the Director of Research and Development in Area 1 is John Morgan, the “full-time” Democrat, who is a member of the New Hampshire State Senate (the 23rd constituency), and before that was a long-term contractor of the U.S. Department of Defense. Unfortunately, none of the America’s “journalism bests“ paid attention to these smocking barrels.

The fact is that the whole story happened on the eve of Trump’s impeachment vote in the U.S. Senate, and Democrats urgently needed to come up with new “evidence” of the U.S. President’s collusion with Russia. A whole operation was developed. But as we now know, it didn’t do. The Senate has removed all suspicions from Trump.

In the United States, such interference in political processes could have serious legal consequences. Therefore, Democrats, having used their connections in the State Department and the intelligence community, engaged the Ukrainian security services and their hackers to simulate an attack on Burisma. Most likely, they created fraudulent sites and letters for a phishing attack and tried to leave “Russian traces”, which were then referred to in Area 1. For example, the report says that hackers used resources of Yandex, the Russian IT-giant, as a service for sending phishing mails. It was enough for a closely affiliated Area 1.

Meanwhile, any independent expert would confirm that this looks absolutely unconvincing, and it is absurd to draw conclusions about anyone’s responsibility on such grounds. In principle, all accusations and arguments of high-profile hacking against China, Iran, Russia, North Korea are based on assumptions, guesses, and etc.

Ukrainian propaganda media, such as Inforesist and Gromadske, were again among the first to notify their readers about the alleged cyber attack on Burisma. Then the Ukrainian police got involved, which started investigations regarding the fact of attacks and even requested assistance from the FBI. Since then, however, no one has heard anything about the outcome and is unlikely to ever hear.

Interestingly, Burisma itself stayed away from all this media noise and did not even confirm its servers had been hacked. Karina Zlachevskaya, the directors board member, and daughter to Nikolai Zlachevski? the owner of the company, refused to comment on the incident.
As for Ukraine, this influence operation can be seen as another episode of the country’s interference in U.S. domestic political processes, along with the disclosure of Yanukovych’s secret bank.

Polish bombers

I am also aware of an information operation that Ukrainian hackers carried out independently, without being tasked by Washington. The goal was also to frame Russia and exacerbate its relations with Poland.

This May, Polish media, as usual with a reference to anonymous sources, reported that in 2019 Russian security services used their aged and already exposed accounts on the Internet to call on Internet users to send out reports about mining Polish schools during final exams. Those Internet users in question are anonymous authors of Lolifox, the Polish forum platform. In April and May of 2019, they really discussed and planned to send false letters about mining schools. The site was deleted, but its archive copy was preserved with all correspondence of these “bombers”.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Messages of the Lolifox forum users

Eventually, near 700 educational buildings throughout Poland received such reports. The forum was considered anonymous, no traces could be found, the authors could not be found. In almost a year Russia has been accused of it .

Meanwhile, according to my information, such provocation could be carried out by Ukrainian hackers on special service. In their correspondence with Lolifox users in April and May of 2019, they made posts of Russian hackers, FSB and Putin involvement in mining. But no one pointed to it, there were no accusations against Russia, and the forum users did respond to these injections.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Messages of the Lolifox forum users

After almost a year, this topic popped up again, as on April 18, 2020 Ukrainian hackers posted on the anonymous Pastebin a list of IP-addresses, belonging to users of Lolifox. At least that was stated. Unnamed experts who were carrying out “the detailed analysis” of the attack also found “well-known” IPs of the Russian intelligence agencies on this list.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Publication of IP addresses in the anonymous Pastebin website

The scandal’s campaign was promoted by mass media and sited, united to the system of Ukraine’s information and psychological warfare. For instance, one of the first reports comprising accusations against Russia published Alexander “Evil Odessa” Kovalenko. The comments to Polish Radio was given by Mr.Pokora, the editor-in-chief of Stopfake. Of course, he knew absolutely that Russia is behind the attacks. It is symptom that officials, as in other incidents, have not confirmed or commented on the allegations against Russia. They were well aware of their baseless nature.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Chronological scheme of provocation

There is zero evidence to the links between Russia and those anonymous cases. As well as there are no arguments in favor of authenticity of the published list of IP-addresses, which, apparently, formed the grounds of investigation. Why should everyone believe that these records belong to the very authors of Lolifox, who discussed sending letters about mining? Nobody bothered to explain that.

Actually the list of the Russian IPs was made by the staff of the Ukrainian intelligence agencies in absolutely random order via Internet services (123) which provide such information . However, this was an occasion for Polish investigators to report their successes and close the dead case after a kick of anti-Russian cyber-hysteria.

In turn, the Polish leadership took advantage of the situation to raise the election rating of the current government. Presidential elections were due to take place in May, and President Andzej Duda has built his campaign to unite Poles against the key enemy. Of course, Russia was designated the enemy. Within the framework of such a concept, Ukrainian provocation proved to be beneficial to Duda’s election HQ, which used and hyperbolized the history of “cyber threat from the East” as a major trend of election rhetoric.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Poland to shift the election date to the end of June, but against this background, a new national security strategy was approved by Poland’s president on May 12, where Russia is officially named the country’s main opponent.

In addition to influence operations via modern computer technologies, Ukrainian security services also worked in the classical range of influence methods.


The Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) is engaged in propaganda abroad through its devices. The task of this secret service is to actively inject into the consciousness of foreign partners the ideas of the need to provide military and financial assistance to Ukraine in order to counter the Russia’s aggression. To this end, the GUR, for example, using the Government communication StratCom tool, systematically briefs Western partners with information that demonizes Russia and encourages Western countries to strengthen anti-Russian measures.

Through military attachés in foreign countries, the GUR spreads disinformation about Russia and the war in the country, also paying for publications in the local press. As a rule, foreign missions, with rare exceptions, do not write articles for publication in the media. They are instructed to gain info from the sites maintained by IPSO specialists, for example, Informnapalm, InfoResistance, Censor and “George Maison” blog on Medium.

But these resources are aimed primarily at the domestic Ukrainian consumer and are funny stuffed with propaganda and slogans in the style of Soviet anti-imperialist agitation. Therefore, foreign media are not willing to cooperate with Ukrainian military diplomats, as well as their text are often posted on second-class portals on the Internet. That, however, does not prevent Ukrainian spies from sending winning reports to Kiev.

In addition, Ukraine’s Defense officials abroad are trying to carry out various propaganda activities in foreign countries. For example, the attaché in Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Metelap (by the way, one of the GUR heads in the past), was intended to give a lecture to the Kazakh military about “Russian aggression against Ukraine”. However, he did not succeed in this, the Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan refused his initiative.


I know a little about the activities of the Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) within the strategic communications operations. According to my service competence, I did not have to intersect with such specialists of the SVR. It is logical that, after the relocation to Russia, no contacts and sources left in the SVR, unlike other bodies or services.

From the general information that was passed between the staff of the SBU, I know that intelligence officers of the SVR participated in the information campaign during the Dutch referendum of Ukraine’s association with the EU. And then they got involved in discrediting North Stream 2. The body tried best to gain a profitable solution for Ukraine from Europe regarding construction of a new gas pipeline. However, Ukrainian intelligence officers failed to achieve much success. Construction was suspended only after American sanctions have been imposed.


The Security Service of Ukraine got, perhaps, the highest top in using information operations at citizens of Europe. I know a lot of them personally. Under Vasyl Gritzak, the Service simply dropped to the creation of frank information fakes. For example, in the spring of 2016, during the terrorist attacks at Brussels Airport and subway, the head of the SBU announced Russia’s involvement.

Gregoire Muto case

In order to manipulate the public opinion of Europeans, the SBU actively plays the terrorism card. At least they did in the case of Frenchman Gregoire Muto

In 2016, he was detained on the border of Ukraine and Poland while trying to smuggle weapons and was accused of preparing terrorist attacks during Euro-2016. The head of the Security Service Vasyl Gritzak personally said that the man planned 16 terrorist attacks in France and for this purpose intended to purchase weapons and explosives.

However, further events clearly indicate that everything that happened to Muto is a planned special operation of the Security Service, in which the citizen of France was simply framed. This special operation involved agent Mikhail Zubov, a citizen of Ukraine, who was then eliminated so that he could not reveal all the circumstances of this dirty game.

By the way, besides Zubov himself, a former member of the “Azov” regiment, his wife and 4-year-old daughter were killed. The investigation immediately reported that the killer is Zudov himself. However, the huge number of inconsistencies in the criminal case make it possible to reasonably doubt the official conclusions.

A huge number of inconsistencies in Muto’s case did not confuse the Ukrainian court: the French was sentenced to 6 years custody.

Misinformation of Polish and Czech special services

Spying in the security structures of European states was not the limit. The SBU carried out active operations to misinform the intelligence services and military leadership of the EU countries. In this regard, the document of the SBU’s Department for the Protection of National Statehood on one of such cases makes special interest.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Document of the SBU’s Department of Protection of National Statehood

In 2016, as part of the counterintelligence search No. 1981 “Polyglot”, the Ukrainian special service placed its agent “Skif” into the secret network of the  Czech and Polish intelligences.

Through the mole, the SBU supplied EU intelligence agencies with a spoilt, misinforming or compromising information on events in so-called antiterrorists operation (ATO) zone. With assistance of “Skif” and StratCom’s technology to spread disinformation, the Ukrainian side intended to discredit pro-Russian forces in the EU and put Ukraine in a favorable light.

As is known, intelligence docs regularly lie on the highest tables and make soles to important foreign decisions. But unfortunately, they are not always true.

Spying in Poland

Ukrainian security services carry out active intelligence ops. in the European countries, officially called allies and partners of Ukraine. Poland has traditionally been of particular interest. In the reports of the SBU, SVR and GUR, information on Poland is priority 2 after Donbass and Russia.

Here is the secret document of the SBU’s Lviv Regional Department dated July 2014.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

It deals with obtaining intelligence from “available operational capabilities” about the composition, size and plans to reform the Polish Armed Forces. This activity is masked as “counter-intelligence activities to counter anti-Ukrainian activities of governmental and non-state organizations of Poland”. But, you will agree, the stated goals have little to do with the collection of agency information about the Polish Armed Forces.

Nothing has changed since 2014. Officially, Kiev declares friendship and mutual assistance, as operationally present-day Ukraine carries out intelligence and subversion activities against Polish Armed Forces, government and non-state organizations.

Freedom of speech in Ukrainian

Since the Czech Republic was mentioned again, I will give another indicative example of how the Ukrainian authorities and the military carried out a sort of information operation. This time it was not only about dissemination of false information, but concealment of truth.

In October 2016, the ATO Command received a letter the HQ of the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center, that has been titled “Regarding the anti-Ukrainian activities in the ATO zone of foreign media representative”.

Hoisted With Their Own Petard: Ukraine's Influence Operations Against Europe

The report the SBU’s Anti-Terrorist Center Chief of Staff

The letter reports that Miroslav Karras, the Czech television reporter, having official accreditation to work in the ATO zone, collected “tendential information” for the Russian media sake.

His links to Lifenews and Russia Today were faked because it was considered sufficient grounds for the detention and interrogation of a person at the time. In fact, Mr. Karras asked uncomfortable questions and obviously wanted to show the war as it was, against the version of Kiev authorities. Such a media report could indeed appear on Czech television. This did not suit the Security Service operatives in the ATO zone, who could then look bad for not preventing a leak of truth from Donbass.

The ATC HQ proposed to authorize measures against a Czech journalist in accordance with article 14 of the Anti-Terrorism Act of Ukraine. What is this article about? Article 14, named “Regime in the ATO zone”, outlines what measures the security forces can apply. Specifically:
Restrictions of the rights and freedoms of citizens may be temporarily imposed in the area of the anti-terrorist operation.

In order to protect citizens, the State and society from terrorist threats in the area of a long-term anti-terrorist operation, preventive detention of persons involved in terrorist activities for more than 72 hours, but not more than 30 days, may be carried out as an exception, taking into account the peculiarities established by this Law.

How interrogations of unwelcome and dissent are made in ATO zone, I have already told in an interview about the so-called “Library” at the Mariupol Airport (link). This was usually done in a very hard way.

These are the measures that the SBU officers were going to use to a journalist from the EU, who, I remind you, had official accreditation to work in the ATO zone.


All of the above mentioned shows that the Ukrainian government, using state and non-state bodies, systematically tries to influence hearts and minds of people and leaders in Europe and even in the United States in order to make them benefit to Ukraine.

At the same time, the Ukrainian government does not breeze anything – neither outright provocations, nor manipulation of facts or direct disinformation.

Thus, there is a paradoxical situation. Much of Ukraine’s StratCom efforts are funded by the West. So it turns out that Western countries finance information war and influence operations against themselves.


  • Yevgeny Perebiynis – Ambassador of Ukraine to the Czech Republic, head of the Information policy department of the Ukrainian Ministry of foreign Affairs (2013-2015)
  • Vasily Gritsak is the former Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (2015-2019), Army General
  • G.Kuznetsov – сolonel, chief of staff of the anti-еerrorist center at the SBU (2006-2010, 2015 to present)
  • Valery Kondratyuk is the former Deputy Head of the Administration of Ukraine (2016-2019), the Head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (2015-2016), the Head of the SBU Counter-Intelligence Department (2014-2015), Lieutenant General.
  • Vasily Burba is the Head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (from 2016), Colonel General.
  • Alexander Metalap – Lieutenant-General, attaché of defense in Kazakhstan, the former chief of the Main intelligence Directorate of Ukraine.
  • Yuriy Pavlov is major general, former head of the Main intelligence Directorate of Ukraine (2014-2015)
  • Valery Seleznyov is lieutenant colonel, officer of the 2nd Department of the Main Intellegence Directorate of Ukraine
  • Yevgeny Stepanenko is major general, head of the command of the signal corps and cybersecurity forces since February 2020, head of the Military Institute of Telecommunications and Informatization (2016-2020)
  • Alexander Kovalenko is the agent of the Ukrainian special services, author of the blog “Zloy odessit”
  • Raitis Nugumanovs is the owner of a data center in Riga, where Ukrainian hackers rented servers for cyber attacks
  • Anton Gorbov is the Russian programmer, author of software for hacking e-mails.


  • The National Security and Defense Council (SNBO) is a coordinating body under the President of Ukraine on national security and defense issues.
  • The Ministry of foreign Affairs (MFA) is a state executive authority of Ukraine that implements state policy in the field of foreign relations of Ukraine with other states, as well as with international organizations.
  • The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (MIPU) is a state executive authority in the area of ensuring information sovereignty of Ukraine and controlling the dissemination of socially important information in Ukraine and abroad.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is a special purpose law enforcement agency intended to ensure the country’s state security. Subordinates to the President of Ukraine.
  • The foreign intelligence service of Ukraine (SVR) is a state authority of Ukraine that carries out intelligence in the political, economic, military-technical, scientific-technical, information and environmental areas.
  • The Department of strategic communications is a division of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine designed to counter aggressive information influences and implement the unified information policy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
  • The Main Intelligence Directorate is a military intelligence agency of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
  • Psychological operations centers (PSYOP) – military units of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, responsible for conducting information wars.
  • The signal corps and cybersecurity command is a structure within the Armed forces of Ukraine designed to provide communications, secure computer networks, and conduct cyber attacks

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Black Waters

Very detailed info, great job.


So Nord Stream 2 is fucked, huh?

Lone Ranger

Will be ready in 6months.
Hope the U.S. is ready to take over Ukrains gas support, otherwise it will be a long and cold winter :)

AM Hants

Ukraine and Poland are the only nations interested in purchasing US LNG, for triple the price of Russian gas.

Lone Ranger

They arent the smartest cookies in the jar :)

AM Hants

As they prove time and time again.

Ralph London

Yeah but AM, the more they pay, the more they can steal. I can see that you are not a professional crook, AM.

AM Hants

Aaaaagh Ralph, no wonder I am so naive. Never even made it to amateur crook.

Tommy Jensen

Ukraine and Poland wants freedom.
Some other countries are willing to exchange their freedom for cheap petroleum lamps.

AM Hants

ROFL Tommy, as I seriously love your satire.

Freedom and Ukraine or even freedom and Poland. What is it with Galicia DNA, professional victim status and 24/7 begging bowls?

Harry Smith

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated it is “right” to complete the planned 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia in light of the threat of new US sanctions against the project. Merkel, speaking July 1 in the German parliament, said US sanctions “did not correspond” to Germany’s interpretation of international law



You see, Germany is part of EU and here is an institution named the European Comission that can veto businesses with non-EU countries and that happened already few times before NS2. Angela Merkel and Gerhard Shroeder can say a lot of things but Russia economy is not that strong to trade with every country from EU to own EC. Also many small EU members are worried about Germany taking over everything in EU. I know German politicians are very vocal with the NS2 tho.

AM Hants

Nord Stream II was set up to be one step ahead of EU interference, was it not?

Remember the Nabucca Pipeline and how it fell to pieces, owing to EU control? Which led to getting nowhere fast.

Remember one of the conditions of the EU Neighbourhood Agreement with Ukraine? Which was to get the ‘Gas Princess Julia Tymoshenko out of prison. Why was ‘nuke 8 million Russians’ Tymoshenko called the ‘Gas Princess? Why was she so important to the EU? What has she done for Ukraine gas transit pipelines, since her release from prison? They are still rotting away, owing to lack of infrastructure, are they not?

What happened to Bulgaria, after they pulled out of the South Stream, courtesy EU encouragement? Isn’t Bulgaria begging Russia and Turkey for a branch of Turkstream?

What has happened to Naftogaz? Did they manage to get somebody to take it over, earlier this year? How much Russian gas will be going through the pipelines, compared to pre-2014 times?

What has happened to the Qatar to Europe Pipeline? Did Qatar pull out, owing to a hissy fit, with a couple of her partners? Is it now the Israel to Europe Pipeline, but, stuck, owing to Russia lending a hand in Syria?

Meanwhile, Russia has some decent business deals with Asia, including the $400 billion Chinese deal (one of many). So Russia is not that bothered by supplying Europe, just her petty cash fund, when supplying the 80% of the planet that only owes 20% World Debt, would you not say?

Who needs who most, Germany andcthecUS or Germany and Russia? As the world moves on.


Sorry but your comment is full of questions that are all rethorical not honest questions. Actually rwthorical was an euphemisme here, more accurate was hysterical. I couldn’t lower my standards to read it to the end.

AM Hants

Lower your standards. ROFL. Where in the terms and conditions of Disqus, does it state comments cannot ask questions?

Rhetorical questions not honest ones? Sorry, as I get my head around that. All those questions, can easily be answered by a simple yes/no. There again you would have had to have read the comment to work that one out, which, as you stated, you have not.


The retorical questions are not meant to be answered, you silly :) however I see you answer your own rethorical questuins some times which is even more ridiculous. But indeed they don’t break the Disquss rules, if you want me to reply to your rethorical question and agree with you. But that’s the last one ;)

AM Hants

If I did not want the questions answered then why would I ask them?

Just a simple yes or no, if there was no truth in the questions, from your viewpoint.

As you state they do not break Disqus rules.

AM Hants

How can say in yes/no to the question agree with me? It is your personal choice to say whether you agree or disagree, is it not?

Harry Smith

Well the main idea of EU created by Germany and France was to absorb other European economies. That was until Washington corrupted EU bureaucracy. After brexit Germany tries to return EU under it’s control. If Germany will succeed then Russia will have good business with EU. If Germany will fail then it’s useless to make any business project with EU because the main wish of Washington is to destroy EU economy which is 2nd after China competitor with USA. Boeing will be monopolist if Airbus die.


Just because Washington doesn’t want Germany to buy Russia’s gas doesn’t mean Washington wants to destrot EU’s economy. Russia’s gas is not everything for EU.

Harry Smith

Russian gas is cheap source of energy. Especially after Washington lobbed the prohibition of nuclear plants in Germany. All other energy sources will increase the cost of production and prices of products made in Germany.


Germany use that energy to build stuff that is sold in USA. If USA puts tarifs on that goods that’s fair. I’m not aware that USA lobby countries to not use nuclear energy, it’s the first time I hear that.

Harry Smith

The process of sanctions is vice versa. USA sells a lot of goods in EU.


Yes but half the value, every gov should pay atention to trade balance.

Lone Ranger

Without cheap Russian gas EU economy is not competitive.


It’s not competitive because of socialism, Japan doesn’t have cheap gas either but they made it competitive. However is a good argument. USA should show solidarity by lowering their LNG price for EU.

Lone Ranger

They wont.
You should know them better.
EU economy is pretty competitive, on pair with thar of China.
It dwarfs the U.S. economy.
Germany alone exports more than the whole U.S.
Thats why the U.S. is afraid.
They spent all the money on wars, weapons and bankster bail outs and they are simply not competitive anymore.
Japanese supertankers are buying up cheap oil wherever they can find it and transport it back to Japan where they make their own fuel from it.
Cost effective…
U.S. is also socialistic by the way.
Its socialism for the elite…


The problem with the US exports is that the multinationals moved their factories in China. It hurts the American people but still part of China’s export is not all Chinese, it belongs to the American elites. Germany exports a lot in the EU, the whole EU is a market for the German companies, Brits figured out first, eventually others will figure out too.

Lone Ranger

I wouldnt mind if the EU would fall apart.
Im fed up with Brussels and their neo-trotskyite bureucrats.


I wish that too.

AM Hants

No, because Germany needs it and not happy with US hissy fits.


Germany needs to sell their stuff to USA, if they put a break on that commerce, the German economy is doomed, as Germany exports to US are 150 Billion and imports only 50 Billion. Eu Comission and Denmark need to geve their OK one more time to the Russian ship to continue the 5% unfinished project. For that to happen the ship needs an insurance, but no insurance company would suicide for a 2 months contract :) Meanwhile Russia already signed contract with Ukraine on gas transit for 10 years.

AM Hants

Darling, how much world debt does the US, Japan and EU members own? 80%.

How much world debt does the rest of the world own, including China and Russia? 20%

So you seriously believe if Germany cannot trade with the world’s largest debtor nation, they will have nowhere else to trade?

With regards the ship, worse case scenario Russia covers the insurance. Something they have considered owing to the immaturity of nations who have no business interfering in another nations energy needs.

Russia/Ukraine gas transport, thought it was for a tiny amount and not for ten years. Will the Ukrainian infrastructure actuallyvlast that long? Isn’t Russia already pulling down the majority of her pipines that service the old ruins of what Ukraine relies on?


Ahh the debt argument again, alliens will come to earth and ask Americans to pay the debt… To themselves aahahaha. Next wage I’ll ask my boss to pay me in Rubles cause they are covered by real gold.

AM Hants

Yeah, the world debt factor again.

Remind me, how much world debt does Russia have, when compared with US national debt?

Riddle me this, has Russia got enough in her savings account to cover what little debt she does have?

Does the US have enough in their savings account, to cover $26 trillion, national debt?

Just a little trifle to think about, would you not say?


Not all Germany, just the gas sector and the populist politicians, they make a little noize but the will keep the trade with US. And you know US is right on this, Germany can’t take money from Americans and buy Russian gas, it’s just not fair.


Germany needs what is best for their economy and their economy needs export. The American market is huge compared to Russian market so Germany needs US more than Russian gas. If you have some numbers instead of copy paste titles from Russia Today like ‘Germany needs it’ I’m interested.

AM Hants

Darling, by the way, when have I ever copied and pasted RT articles?

Especially when replying to you. You would see the link to the article, would you not?

Tommy Jensen

The problem is we cant live with US interference in EU’s internal affairs and even if the gay parades and green gender changes (D) comes back, too much is destroyed so our relationship is changed, but we will still cooperate with US as our closest partner because they have always been a close partner, and despite Russia’s grabbing land masses and gold in spite of human rights we will also cooperate with Russia because we have to make peace out of their kalibr missiles and now we will have to wait and see what happens and ………………..bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla…………..
Yours sincerely Angela Merkel


Comedy central award granted, if only I could give this comment 1k likes.


To a great extent the Western propaganda techniques are still in the pre-internet age.

Today we all have easy access to information from all over the world in seconds and this broadens the minds of the target audience.

As a direct result of the dated and peurile Western propaganda from play books written many decades and even centuries ago, the trust in the Western narratives is at an all time low.

Harry Smith

What a shocking story. I think BBC would publish a comprehensive investigation soon. It’s a direct threat for human rights. No government in EU would tolerate it!
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Tommy Jensen

If only the author had left out the 2 British Intelligence officers training Ukraine’s Intelligence in psy-ops against Russia, then it would have been a perfect info warrior piece against US, Europe and Russia leaving UK as the lamb………………………………….LOL.

AM Hants

Reminded me of Vault 7 and not forgetting the work of Crowdstrike.

So much information in the article, I will need to read a few times to absorb it all.

How much money does $oro$ NGOs get back from USAID and other International Aid Budgets, from other nations?

NED who run parallel to $oro$ NGOs?

Burisma and $oro$ controlled NGOs, who donate to the Atlantic Council. The Think Tank, run by many who benefitted from ‘Operation Gladio’, that dictates NATO exercises. Plus, the Atlantic Council Think Tank Groupies, that spread themselves far and wide, at the whiff of Government Funded, many nations, ‘Think Tanks’.

Burisma Holdings who also donate to the Atlantic Council.

Statecraft/Integrity Initiative/Belingcat/Open Information Partnership, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Due to come under funding by a different form of UK tax payer financing, as Boris has a shuffle, but, guarantees more money to Ukraine.

How much does the US State Department fund Ukraine and hostile Eastern European nations? How much are they spending on the current colour revolution, over in Belarus?

George Eliason articles, over on Oped News, would compliment the above. Those which focus on the US privatising at least 80% of their intelligence services.

Plus John Helmer, over on ‘Dance With Bears’ has written an interesting article on Boris getting rid of Sir Mark Sedwill. Interesting reading and how many US intelligence agents were thrown out of Russia in the 90s? Where did they go?


“Let’s take a look at how Ukrainians view Vladimir Lenin’s political life. The leader of the Global proletariat allowed Ukraine to annex in 1918-1925 the lands of present-day Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Odessa and other regions that had never belonged to it.”



Complex,yeah well if you ask me,Trump got all cia intelligence from Pompeos press conference?

Tommy Jensen

These kind of operations are necessary if you wants to preserve a free and civilised world in US and Europe with our freedom and our values.


Ꮋi thеre! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if yօu knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for
my commеnt form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m hаving
problems finding one? Thanks a lot!