MOSCOW: Russia said Friday it had detained two of its citizens including a member of the armed forces who allegedly passed Ukraine military secrets on the Black Sea naval fleet based in Moscow-annexed Crimea.
The FSB security service said in a statement that it had detained a man who was serving in the Russian armed forces in Crimea named as Dmitry Dolgopolov and a woman named as Anna. It said the pair “had been gathering and passing to the Ukrainian special services information that is a state secret about the activities of the units and divisions of the Black Sea naval fleet” based in Crimea.
The FSB said it had opened a criminal case into treason, which is punishable by a maximum jail term of 20 years. It released video of masked FSB officers holding the man and woman against a wall in a flat, handcuffing them and leading them to a van. The couple appear to be in their 40s.
The video shown on Russian television includes footage of Dolgopolov confessing to investigators that he passed information to Ukraine. Ukraine said that the serving soldier in question had left the Ukraine military to join the Russian armed forces after Crimea’s annexation. Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesperson of the General Staff of Ukraine, told AFP he knew Dolgopolov personally.
“In 2014, he betrayed his oath. I know him personally because I served with him,” he said, specifying that Dolgopolov was a major and deputy commander of a division of the 406th coast artillery group of the Ukrainian navy based in Crimea’s main city of Simferopol.
“He is a traitor to the Ukrainian armed forces and a traitor to Ukraine,” Seleznyov insisted.
“Why he was detained is a question for the FSB. But I’m not sure he could have passed information to Ukraine’s armed forces.”
Russia regularly announces it has foiled attempts to undermine its rule in Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned internationally. In August, the FSB said it had captured an alleged Ukrainian agent who was planning acts of sabotage including blowing up power lines.
Ukrainian film director and scriptwriter Oleg Sentsov was sentenced in 2015 to 20 years in a Russian prison colony on terrorism charges over arson attacks in Crimea.
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