SBU says it prevented Russian agent’s arson attack on Hungarian consulate

The "Luhansk people's republic passport" of the suspect in plotting terror attacks in Zakarpattia Oblast. Photo via SBU 

Hybrid War, International

Amid the renewed tensions between Hungary and Ukraine, Russia appears to keep trying to drive an even larger wedge in the quite strained relations between the two neighboring countries. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it has arrested a man from the Russian-occupied area in the east of Ukraine, who is suspected of plotting “an arson attack on the Consulate General of a neighboring country” in the westernmost oblast of Zakarpattia and attempted to hire an assassin for murdering a “public figure.”

According to the SBU report of 6 October, the agency prevented terrorist acts in the border area of ​​the Zakarpattia Oblast. The attackers reportedly planned to set fire to the Consulate General of the neighboring country and order the murder of a public figure.

“The participants in the subversive activities tried to commit the terrorist attacks to destabilize the socio-political situation in the region and discredit Ukraine in the international arena. The identity of the organizer of the crimes has been established. According to operational data, he is hiding in Russia,” SBU said.

The report doesn’t mention the country whose consulate’s arson was plotted. However, the regional capital of Uzhhorod city has only two consulates-general – of Hungary and Slovakia, plus, there is a Hungarian consulate in the village of Berehove, a center of the local ethnic Hungarian community.

The Slovakian consulate hasn’t ever been a target of the attacks, aimed at eroding Ukraine’s international relations. Typical targets of those are Hungarian, Polish, and Jewish cultural, diplomatic, and heritage sites.

Meanwhile, in February 2018, there were two attempts to set on fire the Zakarpattia Society of Hungarian Culture in the city of Uzhhorod, later Poland detained three Poles connected to pro-Russian “radical right-wing groups” shortly after the first incident as perpetrators of the first attack, then, Ukrainian police arrested three Ukrainians suspected of the second attack and put an alleged “foreign perpetrator” on the search list. And in 2017, SBU detained two Ukrainian men connected to a local pro-Russian party, who reportedly were planting explosives near a Hungarian monument in the west of Ukraine.

According to the investigation data, the organizer of the plotted attacks is a native of Luhansk Oblast. He was recruited by representatives of the special services of the Russian Federation to conduct intelligence and subversive activities against the state security of Ukraine, the SBU report reveals.

The agency says that his Russian handlers instructed the plotter to set fire to a foreign diplomatic mission, several cars with foreign registration, and damage a historical monument in Transcarpathia. Additionally, the suspect was looking for an assassin to commission him the murder of a local public figure.

The alleged Russian agent “guaranteed” to pay $30,000 for the crime, according to SBU. Among other tasks of the agent was collecting secret data about Ukrainian military facilities in the region and sending the data to Russian secret services.

SBU officers have reportedly prevented the plotted crimes and exposed their participants and security investigators sent an indictment act to the court against the organizer of the illegal activities charging him with high treason, creating a terrorist group, plotting a terror attack, and public calls for committing a terror attack.


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