On March 28, Ukrainian intelligence officials from the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine released information on 620 individuals they believe to be Russian intelligence/law enforcement spies. These people are believed to be members of Russia’s Federal Security Service who traveled to Ukraine during the invasion and reported intelligence to the Russian leadership. Ukrainian intelligence officials have claimed that each individual is on a register at FSB headquarters in Moscow and is believed to be linked to criminal activities committed throughout the invasion. Ukrainian intelligence officials not only dropped the names of the 620 suspects, they thoroughly doxed them in a post on their website. They released the names, addresses and passport numbers of the 620 people involved, citing not only crimes committed in Ukraine, but also crimes these members committed across Europe. Some of the people whose names were leaked also had SIM card numbers or vehicle registration information leaked to make it harder for them to stay hidden. They release this information as a way to retaliate against Russia because of the invasion, but also in hopes that their European allies with more powerful intelligence agencies and networks will help them crack down on some of Russia’s best spies.
The website of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine published the information under the heading “Employees of the FSB of Russia implicated in the criminal activities of the aggressor state in Europe”, without further background information provided. Therefore, there are questions about the legitimacy or accuracy of this list and how they collected this information in the first place. No further details were provided about what crimes these Russian spies had committed, what other European countries they were spying on, or their involvement in Ukraine during the invasion, but many experts believe the leak is legitimate. It appears that some of the information was cross-checked with other leaked information from databases which was then pasted into a more cumulative list, releasing the information much more publicly than ever before. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to uncovering Russia’s intelligence work and covert operations capabilities, as the FSB has a huge spy network around the world. . Other European nations share their thoughts on the identities that have been revealed. Former head of Britain’s M-I6 intelligence agency, Sir John Sawers, said: “We see the extent of Russia’s aggressive intelligence activities across Europe. We probably only know about 10% of what they do. There will be a lot of things the intelligence services will do that we are simply not aware of. This is undoubtedly true; however, it remains a victory for the Ukrainian intelligence services and a victory for the intelligence agencies of NATO countries in Europe as a whole.
Putin and all Russian officials have yet to comment on the leak, but it’s clear their intelligence services are already in turmoil. Earlier this month, Putin reportedly placed several FSB intelligence officials under house arrest for their failed work in Ukraine. These officials who were under house arrest were tasked with gathering intelligence in Ukraine before the invasion to help once the soldiers invaded, but since the invasion was not going as well as Putin had expected, they were arrested for their insufficient work. Tensions are rising among Russian officials as the invasion remains stalled. What Putin thought would be over in a week has now been progressing for over a month, and it’s not going well for those involved. The Ukrainians are fighting back harder than expected, and the Russian soldiers are completely unprepared, know little of the land they are invading and are sorely lacking in supplies. Hopefully the tension and chaos between Putin and his advisers will become an advantage for the Ukrainian government to recover. As the invasion reaches a stalemate, bloodshed continues to rock Ukrainian villages as Russian soldiers continue to shell buildings, shell vehicles and kill innocent civilians as the ongoing crisis shows no signs of improving anytime soon.