Members of Ukrainian military intelligence and their accomplices were arrested by the Russian FSB service in the town of Armyansk earlier today.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR MOU) was preparing to target the Russian peninsula’s critical infrastructure, the FSB announced on Wednesday.
The infiltrators also planned to blow up a highway in the region at the time motorcades with local officials and federal authorities would have been driving through it, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported.
FSB received a warning from Armyansk locals, who had reported on some suspicious people in military uniforms in their town, Rossiyskaya Gazeta said. Having responded to the call, an FSB task group detected some 20 people in the area, who were loading explosives and weapons from their hideout. Once the suspects noticed the Russian security forces, they immediately opened fire, shooting to kill, the newspaper said.
One FSB officer was killed, while at least one infiltrator was shot dead and several others injured when the officers returned fire.
Twenty home-made explosive devices equivalent to more than 40 kilos of TNT, as well as ammunition, shells, and other weapons used by the Ukrainian Army’s special forces were discovered at the scene.
Two more attempts by Ukrainian raiding and terrorist groups to breakthrough were prevented by Russian forces on Monday. Kiev’s armored vehicles provided cover fire for the groups from the Ukrainian side, the FSB said, adding that one Russian serviceman had been killed in that operation.
The suspected Kiev agents attempted to cross the border through a swamped lake of Sivash, Rossiyskaya Gazeta explained, saying that all overland areas connecting the peninsula to the mainland are thoroughly guarded by Russian border officers.
A criminal case has been opened and additional covert and investigative activities are being conducted in the region.
The thwarted acts of sabotage and terrorism were aimed at destabilizing the social and political situation on the peninsula ahead of both local and federal elections, the FSB said in its statement.
Kiev has turned to the “practice of terrorism” instead of trying to peacefully resolve Ukraine’s crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in commenting on an FSB report that it had foiled terrorist attacks in Crimea plotted by Ukrainian intelligence.
Ukraine is “playing a dangerous game,” the Russian leader said when talking to reporters on Wednesday, while calling Kiev’s actions “stupid and criminal.”
Moscow cannot turn a blind eye to the deaths of its servicemen who were killed during special operations to prevent terrorist attacks in Crimea, Putin said.
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany were to meet in the so-called “Normandy format” to discuss the peace process in Ukraine on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 in China.
However, Kiev has demonstrated that it’s not interested in peaceful negotiations, the Russian president told reporters, adding that he would like to address the matter with the American and European partners.
“I think it’s obvious that Kiev’s current authorities are not seeking for ways to solve problems through negotiations, but have turned to terrorism,” Putin said, adding that this new development is rather alarming.
Last year, electricity supplies to Crimea were cut off after a group supposedly led by several Ukrainian politicians used explosives to down a pylon in Ukraine’s Kherson Region. Radicals from the extreme Right Sector Ukrainian nationalist group and representatives of Crimean Tatar nationalist organizations continuously blocked attempts to restore the power line.