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BBC: UK charges two individuals accused of helping Russian intelligence in attack on Ukrainian business

Dylan Earl and Jake Reeves were accused of involvement in the arson plot, which allegedly aimed to benefit the Russian state.
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BBC: UK charges two individuals accused of helping Russian intelligence in attack on Ukrainian business

Two British men have been charged with helping Russian intelligence services after a suspected arson attack on a Ukraine-linked business in London, according to BBC.

The investigation, led by Met Police counter-terror officers, was prompted by a fire at a warehouse in east London in March 2024. It has found that one of the suspects, Dylan Earl, 20, planned to target the Ukrainian business, as well as attempted to recruit individuals to assist a foreign intelligence service materially, undertaking fraudulent activity and arson. Another individual, Jake Reeves, 22, accepted money knowing that it was from a Russian intelligence service.

The investigation alleges the involvement of the Wagner private military company, a Russian mercenary group accused of interfering in the 2016 US elections and committing a large number of war crimes in Ukraine in the suspected arson.

The fire, which occurred at an industrial estate in Leyton, is believed to have been started by the suspects, who used an accelerant like petrol to unleash a blaze. While the businesses targeted have not been specified, Companies House records indicate they are two parcel delivery services: Oddisey and Meest UK, owned by Mykhaylo Prykhodko, also known as Mikhail Boikov, and his wife, Jelena Boikova.

Nick Price, the head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said of Dylan Earl: “Included in the alleged activity was involvement in the planning of an arson attack on a Ukrainian-linked commercial property in March 2024.”

Price added that he “alleged to have engaged in conduct targeting businesses which were linked to Ukraine in order to benefit the Russian state.”

Following the investigation, which uncovered a Russian agent network, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office summoned the Russian ambassador, Andrey Kelin.

The UK remains “deeply concerned by allegations of Russian-orchestrated malign activity on UK soil,” stressed the organization’s spokesperson, adding that it “will continue to work with our allies to deter and defend against the full spectrum of threats that emanate from Russia.”

Earl and Reeves are the first individuals to be charged under a new law aimed at modernizing penalties linked to espionage, sabotage, and foreign interference.

This legislation was introduced to bolster the UK’s defenses against hostile activities perpetrated by states targeting the nation’s democratic foundations, economic vitality, and fundamental values.

The UK has been a long-term supporter of Ukraine in its struggle against Russian troops.

This year, the country’s Defense Ministry announced that the first ten Ukrainian pilots graduated from intensive Royal Air Force flight training in the UK, getting basic flying, ground school, and language instruction. The training marks another step closer for Ukraine to receive F-16 fighter jets, which will become the country’s leading aircraft. The pilots set off for an advanced French Air Force to train before learning to fly modern fighters.

Earlier, the UK government announced allocating £500 million in military aid to Ukraine to supply its troops with “some 400 vehicles, 1,600 munitions and 4 million rounds of ammunition.”

Britain to announce largest-ever $617 mn arms package for Ukraine

“Ukraine’s armed forces continue to fight bravely, but they need our support – and they need it now. Today’s package will help ensure Ukraine has what they need to take the fight to Russia,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The announcement came after a series of threats from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who warned that the war, which Russia started in 2022, could develop into a direct nuclear conflict between countries that possess such weapons.

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