The Insider, Bellingcat, and Der Spiegel discovered a secret group within the Main Computation Centre of Russia’s General Staff or the GVC.
They identified 30 engineers from the unit who set missile targets on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. The members of the group responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians are young men and women. Many with IT and even computer-gaming backgrounds. All of them were registered as living and working at Znamenka Street 19 in Moscow – the official address of Russia’s Armed Forces General Staff.
Bellingcat analyzed phone metadata records of the Maj. Gen. Baranov, the highest-ranking individual publicly named as the GVC director. Each time before launching the missiles, he was called from the number of Colonel Ihor Bagniuk, who is also registered at 19 Znamyanka Street.
Investigation revealed that Bagniuk communicated with more than 20 military engineers and IT specialists from the GVC.
According to investigators, the GVC unit consists of three teams. Each team is responsible for programming the flight paths of one specific type of missile. When journalists contacted the members of the unit, all of them denied they had links with the Central Intelligence Agency and attacks.
On Oct. 10, Russia launched the largest attack on Ukraine. Journalists noted that the phone activity of Bagniuk had increased before the strikes. They believe that planning of the attacks began a week earlier as Ukrainian Intelligence reported. Many suggested that the strikes were conducted in response to an explosion at the Kerch Bridge in Crimea. The investigation of journalists showed that the missile attacks could not be a consequence of the blast.
In 2022, Russia's extensive use of cluster munitions in Ukraine caused the highest cluster munition-related casualties in over a decade, as reported by the Cluster Munition Coalition.
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