Women allegedly shared attack vehicle routes
August 8, 2023
Ukraine says it has exposed a spy network of local women working for Russia and the Wagner group. According to the SBU, the Ukrainian security service, four Ukrainian women had gathered intelligence about the number of Ukrainian troops in the contested Donetsk region and photograhed military equipment. “The peculiarity of the enemy group was that it consisted exclusively of local women who supported the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” the SBU posted on Telegram.
Three women have been detained and the fourth is believed to have left Ukraine shortly after the start of the invasion to co-ordinate from inside Russia. It is unclear how long the spy ring had operated.
The group are said to have passed on information to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner group about the flight paths of attack helicopters near Avdiivka, a city in the centre of the Donetsk oblast, and the routes of heavily armoured vehicles in frontline areas. “All received information was transmitted through two channels of communication to the Russian curator from the FSB and the representative of the Wagnerivites,” the SBU said, adding that a popular messaging app was used.
The women were residents of the Pokrovsky district, northwest of the city of Donetsk. It is believed that they were recruited before the full invasion of Ukraine.
Mobile phones were found during raids on their homes, which the Ukrainian authorities said had been used for “intelligence and subversive activities for the benefit of the Russian Federation”.
Kyiv said the investigation continued and the women faced life in prison if convicted.
A woman was arrested on Monday on suspicion of plotting with Russia to assassinate President Zelensky during a trip to Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian intelligence said the alleged spy, a former saleswoman in a military shop, had tried to establish a timeline and a list of locations before the president’s recent visit so Moscow could prepare a strike.
The woman, a resident of the city of Ochakiv, in the Mykolaiv oblast, had also been instructed to identify the location of Ukrainian armed forces from the electronic warfare systems and ammunition depots near the city, the SBU said.
Joshua Thurston reports on breaking news for The Times, covering a range of both Home and World news. He has also written for The Sunday Times. He has lived in London and Tokyo.