Russia has listed Ukrainians to be arrested and others to be local quislings, intelligence report claims.20 February 2022
The 9th Directorate of Russia’s FSB security service started drawing up war-gaming scenarios against Ukraine in December 2021 under the leadership of Russia’s Airborne Forces, an intelligence-based report claims.
“Together they mapped which locals would be supportive and began working on lists of targets who would not. The intent was to establish the command-and-control links between intelligence assets and military units to secure critical infrastructure, government buildings, and to locate and eliminate Ukrainian leaders who would rally resistance,” said a report published by the Royal United Services Institute, the British defence think-tank.
It revealed that the 9th Directorate and the Airborne Forces had “mapped which locals would be supportive and began working on lists of targets who would not. The intent was to establish the command-and-control links between intelligence assets and military units to secure critical infrastructure, government buildings, and to locate and eliminate Ukrainian leaders who would rally resistance,” the report said.
“Our interviewees explained in detail how they know about them. They have the receipts,” said report co-author Jack Watling, a research fellow with the Institute.
Washington likely leaked the information to the Institute as a means of rapidly declassifying sensitive intelligence to show they knew and would publicise Moscow’s moves before they are made.
“According to senior U.S. diplomats and former intelligence officials, the hope is that by calling out Putin’s moves before he makes them and taking away any element of surprise, they can help deter an invasion,” commented the respected US publication ‘Foreign Policy’.
In a recent speech US Secretary of State Blinken briefly gave credence to this report. “Russian missiles and bombs will drop across Ukraine,” he said. “Communications will be jammed. Cyberattacks will shut down key Ukrainian institutions.” Russian tanks and soldiers would then, he said, “advance on key targets that have already been identified and mapped out in detailed plans. We believe these targets include … Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people.”
In his speech, Blinken briefly alluded to U.S. intelligence indicating Russia would target political opponents with arrest or assassination: “Conventional attacks are not all that Russia plans to inflict upon the people of Ukraine. We have information that indicates Russia will target specific groups of Ukrainians.”
Ther report said it was based on interviews with several senior Ukrainian intelligence officials. It alleged that the Russian security services had extensively penetrated Ukrainian local government structures and, in the event of a Russian invasion, had begun mapping out networks of individuals who could be relied on to run local governments.