A Ukrainian soldier looks out from a tank, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region
A Ukrainian soldier looks out from a tank, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region Reuters


  • The former head of the Crimean Security Service was charged with treason
  • Intelligence on double agents within the government could just be the tip of the iceberg
  • Intel suggests the Crimean SBU head recruited high-level security officers to work for Moscow

Ukraine is cracking down on double agents among its ranks that helped paved the way for the Russian invasion in the southern city of Kherson and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Intelligence gathered by Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) confirmed that Russia's intelligence service, the FSB, had infiltrated the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the local government, a report published by the bureau revealed.

The operatives within these agencies were aided by pro-Russian Ukrainian fugitives who fled the country during the Maidan Uprising in 2014, said Tetiana Sapian, spokesperson for the SBI.

The Maidan Uprising was a series of demonstrations in Ukraine that began in November 2013 after former President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to push through with the signing of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement. Instead, he pivoted to Russia and the Russia-influenced Eurasian Economic Union.

Sapian said that the information they gathered could prove to be only the tip of the iceberg.

"The network is much wider and the investigation is engaged in finding out all the circumstances and actions of individual persons that caused the rapid capture of a part of the south by the troops of the aggressor from the territory of the annexed Crimea," Sapian said, reported Politico.

The SBI and the SBU have recently concluded an investigation on Oleh Kulinich, former head of the Crimean department of the SBU, for suspicion of working with the FSB. Kulinich, who was present at high-level security meetings in Ukraine, had reportedly blocked information about the real situation in Kherson and did not take any measures to protect Ukrainian territory.

"In the first hours of the invasion, Kulinich deliberately blocked any attempts to inform the leadership about the real situation in [Kherson] ... He instructed the personnel to leave their place of service," Sapian said at a security briefing.

The SBI spokesperson also said that Kulinich lobbied for the appointment of Andriy Naumov as deputy head of the SBU. Naumov was later alleged to have aided the Russians in seizing the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in February 2022.

The Insider, an independent investigative news outlet focusing on exposing Russian fake news, previously reported that Naumov was offered asylum into Russia in exchange for a testimony against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zelensky fired Kulinich in March of last year. He was arrested in July and was charged with treason.

The SBU then published wiretapped conversations between Kulinich and Volodymyr Sivkovych, a former Deputy Defense Secretary who fled Ukraine in 2014.

Sivkovych was slapped with sanctions by the United States in January 2022 for cooperating with a Russian intelligence group tasked with influence operations to gain support for the Russian annexation of Crimea. The U.S. Treasury also confirmed his role in spreading disinformation during the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The Russian army kept shelling the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, killing three people and wounding another two, Ukrainian officials said