This weekend, the extravaganza around the detention of Russian mercenaries with the so-called Wagner PMC in Belarus and the subsequent shifting of the story's focus onto an alleged leak of the SBU's special operation plan saw further developments.
The new target of the information attack that has already affected the SBU appears to be the Office of the Prosecutor General.
And, traditionally, Russian information resources affiliated with the GRU, as well as some "useful-idiot" Ukrainian media took part in a new attack launched by Russian propagandists. But first things first!
After Viktor Hvozd, ex-chief of Ukraine's military intelligence, spoke out on a Ukrainian talk show to virtually nullify the career of GRU operative Alexander Kots, who has been working under the cover of a Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist, the Russian GRU military intel's creative department urgently needed to publish some distracting piece. Believe it or not, it turned out to be a confession of one of the Wagner mercenaries earlier detained in Belarus.
An interview with a "Wagner mercenary call gisn Zloi" was uploaded on a YouTube channel WarGonzo, a platform directly controlled by the Russian GRU military intelligence. Its editor-in-chief is an infamous Semyon Pegov, who was recently "detained" in Minsk. It's this resource that was spreading shocking stories about Belarusian special forces fighting alongside Turkish Armed Forces in Syria against Assad's troops and the Russian army. What a turn, as they say! But let's not get distracted...
I won't even focus on the fact that this "interview" was spun through GRU-supervised Russian information platforms. And, in general, the fact that this interview was recorded by WarGonzo seems to me a terrible miscalculation. After all, the GRU's creative department didn't even bother to use a less compromised site. For example, as it was done for a similar interview, allegedly given by a "supervisor of the SBU special operation" to a low-profile journo Liubov Velychko on her even lower-profile YouTube channel.
Although, of course, both interviews were shot by a classic scheme with the use of dummy no-names. After all, be it a "supervisor of the SBU special operation" or a Wagner mercenary, all those face masks, hoods, and sunglasses would not help those people conceal their identity – had they been the ones they claimed to be. So it was definitely some extras that played their role, reciting a memorized text on the relevant topic.
But perhaps this interview reveals something new to us… In a sense, it does.
Thus, a mercenary with the call sign Zloi noted that it was Lukashenko's son who handed the arrested Wagnerites back to Russia (as I wrote earlier, noting that it was exclusively his initiative), but for a good reason – "the Prosecutor General of Ukraine didn't come". This was never mentioned before and, given that the current hybrid information wave has already covered the SBU, the President's Office, and is spreading toward the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General is a new target in a bigger trend of compromising Ukrainian security and law enforcement agencies.
According to the version of the Wagner mercenary, which fully corresponds to the "investigation" by Alexander Kots of August 6, published by Komsomolskaya Pravda, and on August 18 – by the Ukrainian (is it?) CENSOR.NET (which, incidentally, also published the said interview the other day), the SBU planned to lure as many mercenaries as possible into Ukraine – moreover, with the support of a certain third party (here come GRU conspiracy theories of U.S. involvement).
And I cannot but pay attention to another important testimony of the interviewee – according to him, when the consul arrived in the detention center to visit the arrested Russians, he said he did not understand what was happening, except for one thing – that they were framed.
Now, the fun part – I explain why this interview is a hoax. Just as I wrote before, when such a massive group (33 people) of the FSB branch Wagner PMC is leaving Russia, the parent agency, based on Lubianka in Moscow, just can't but be aware of the fact.
Any maneuvers of these people under contracts that are beyond the FSB jurisdiction are strictly monitored, so the fact that the Russian consul in Belarus did not understand what was happening with the 33 mercenaries who arrived in his zone of responsibility, why they arrived, and where they were heading, is just ridiculous.
And let me remind you that, besides constant monitoring, the FSB ensures thorough formalization of all mercenary deployments, especially those with years of combat experience. That is, a contract is signed, an advance payment is transferred, life and health insurance is issued… This means a trove of paperwork is out there, allowing to easily track an ultimate beneficiary, for example, the Ukrainian side, had it been the case.
But it turns out that the "supervisor of the special operation" interviewed by Liubov Velichko on August 24, in fact, lured the "Wagnerites" into nowhere, while one of the mercenaries recently confirmed to the WarGonzo outlet that the seasoned mercenaries were allegedly deployed unaware of a range of circumstances of their trip.
And if someone believes the spin, then I'm sorry, this makes me sad. At the same time, I believe that such primitive effort (even without changing information platforms – either due to the lack of new faces, or because of outright disregard for conspiracy as, after all, people will swallow it anyway – was aimed at both maintaining the public focus on the scandal and also to deliver a blow to the Office of the Prosecutor General.
As for the rest, nothing new happened, the same type of background and the same faces in the arena. This is either about personnel shortage or professional degradation that prevents those guys from being more professional on the job.