Journalists from Bellingcat group are conducting an investigation and filming a documentary about the Ukrainian intelligence services’ operation to remove PMC Wagner's mercenaries from Russia. The leader of the group, Christo Grozev, spoke about this in an interview with journalist Alesia Batsman.
According to Grozev, there was an operation despite the fact that the Ukrainian authorities deny it. It fell through at the last stage. Perhaps because the Ukrainian government decided to postpone it for several days.
If the Wagnerites could be arrested, several people "would immediately become very important witnesses on the Boeing issue in The Hague," and the rest would be important witnesses and accused in the 2014 Donbas crimes.
Grozev believes that the United States, Israel and Turkey could have helped Ukraine in this operation.
Answering the question about the possible reasons of the special operation failure, he assumed that it "was a fright. It was decided not to create a confrontation with Russia."
Grozev said that the investigation result will be presented in two parts. The first one is an investigation that uses some of the information gathered and interviews. It will probably be ready in February. A documentary is expected by autumn.
Context. On July 29 in Belarus, the authorities detained 32 militants of the PMC Wagner. Ukraine has requested their extradition, as some of them fought in the Donbas. Minsk released them all to Russia.
On August 18, journalist Yurii Butusov published a version that someone from the Office of the President thwarted the operation to detain these militants.
President Volodymyr Zelensky called this information nonsense, Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Presidential Administration, said it was a disinformation attack. SSU and FIS deny their participation in the operation.