Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Insider: Deported Moldova Sputnik chief revealed as career GRU spy

Before becoming the chief of Russian state media abroad, Vitaly Denisov started his career as a Ukrainian military school graduate and eventually worked his way up in the GRU, an investigative report claims.
Vitaliy Denisov Moldova GRU
Vitaliy Denisov. Photo: Insider
Insider: Deported Moldova Sputnik chief revealed as career GRU spy

The Russian-language news outlet Insider reports that Vitaly Denisov, the recently deported head of Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik Moldova, is allegedly a career military intelligence officer with the GRU, Russia’s foreign military intelligence agency.

According to Insider, Denisov was born in 1967 in Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast and studied at the Lviv Higher Military Political School, which trained political officers and military journalists. The school, since renamed the Academy of Land Forces of Ukraine, was struck by Russian Kalibr missiles in July 2022.

Insider claims Denisov refused to swear allegiance to Ukraine after graduating in 1992 and moved to Moscow, where tax records show he worked for the Defense Ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper. His mentor was veteran Soviet military journalist Gennady Mironovich, who was embedded with the 40th Army during the Soviet-Afghan war.

At Krasnaya Zvezda, Denisov mostly covered the Airborne Forces and joint exercises between Russian special forces and Chinese units, says Insider. He also published work in Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Specnaz VDV magazine Vityaz-Bratishka, the Interfax news agency, Military-Industrial Courier, and Tribuna za Rubezhom, which reportedly provided journalistic cover for many GRU officers abroad.

Denisov’s trail goes cold after that until 2005, when he received a service apartment on Admiral Lazarev Street and a new officer’s ID, according to Insider. In 2013, he surfaced at the Main Investigative Directorate of the Moscow Region, part of Russia’s federal Investigative Committee, though he has no legal education.

An unnamed Defense Ministry source told Insider that Denisov then transferred to Military Unit 54777, the 72nd Special Service Center, which analyzes intelligence from GRU foreign residencies and conducts information warfare. The center also supposedly oversees several front organizations that receive state grants to target Russian-speakers abroad.

In 2016, Denisov was promoted to colonel and appointed Sputnik’s chief editor in South Ossetia in 2019, says Insider. There, he claimed someone tried to poison him with cooking gas, but a probe found the tube was simply old.

After a stint heading Sputnik in Baku, Azerbaijan, Denisov was sent to Moldova in 2022 to monitor the situation and push the Kremlin’s narrative, according to Insider. But Sputnik’s website and broadcasts were blocked after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Earlier this year, 36 Russian diplomats were expelled from Moldova after a joint investigation with Moldovan outlet Jurnal TV revealed intelligence officers operating from Russia’s Chisinau embassy.

Denisov could not be reached for comment, reports Insider.


You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts