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Money, technical assistance, and advice. US was aware of the operation with Wagner mercenaries—CNN

PMC Wagner militants detained in Belarus—CNN Investigation. Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

PMC Wagner militants detained in Belarus—CNN Investigation. Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The TV channel CNN published its own investigation of the operation of the Ukrainian special services for the removal of PMC Wagner mercenaries from Russia. According to it, the United States was aware of the operation. Moreover, the American side provided Ukraine with funding, technical assistance, and advice for its implementation. Representatives of the intelligence agencies of the United States and Ukraine told the channel about this.

Meanwhile, US officials have denied this information. US intelligence admits that it was aware of the plans to detain the militants, but did take part in the operation. The department suggested that this information could be disseminated in order to shift the blame for the thwarted special operation.

According to CNN, in order to collect data on Russian mercenaries, the Ukrainian special services created an allegedly private military company that offered a monthly salary of $5,000 for protecting oil refineries in Venezuela. Hundreds of Russian militants "took the bait" on this legend. At the request of an allegedly potential employer, they sent their military IDs, as well as evidence of exactly where they had fought and what they had done. Thus, Ukrainian intelligence obtained a large base of Russian mercenaries, among whom were those who had been involved in the shooting down of the MH17 aircraft. Photo and video evidence of crimes committed in the east of Ukraine found their way into the hands of the Ukrainian intelligence as well.

"There were two who were present when the missile that downed MH17 was launched. Four others were members of a group responsible for shooting down our military aircraft and killing at least 70 of our best men," one of the sources of Ukrainian military intelligence said.

Ukrainian intelligence chose 28 mercenaries out of everyone who indicated their willingness. Another 5 candidates were not involved in the war in Donbass, but they were picked to allay any suspicions.

The TV channel sources noted that the operation failure was a serious blow to Ukrainian intelligence. Preparation for the operation lasted almost 18 months.

"If these people would have ended up here in Ukraine, the details of their criminal acts would have become known around the world. Ukraine could have brought them to justice and shown that our fight with Russia is serious and that we won't raise our hands in surrender," one of the TV channel sources stressed.

Context. On July 29, the authorities detained 33 militants of PMC Wagner in Belarus. Ukraine requested their extradition, some of them had fought in the Donbas. Minsk released all of them 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 Zelenskyy 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.

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