Ukrainian plot to sabotage Russia’s sole aircraft carrier foiled – FSB

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Agents tried to recruit a naval officer to plant an incendiary device on the Admiral Kuznetsov, officials have said

Russian operatives have foiled a Ukrainian plot to sabotage the country’s only aircraft carrier, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has revealed. It also thwarted plans by Kiev to assassinate several top military officers.

In a statement on Wednesday, the agency said Kiev’s intelligence service had sought to orchestrate a “terrorist attack” on the heavy aircraft cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, which was docked in the city of Murmansk in northern Russia.

In March, a Ukrainian agent using the alias ‘Oleg’ contacted an unnamed Russian naval officer serving on the ship, according to the FSB. During that conversation, ‘Oleg’ exerted “psychological pressure” on the officer to convince him to stage a terrorist attack.

This included threats to prosecute him on trumped-up charges of financing the Ukrainian military. The naval officer was promised a large sum of money and was told that he could flee abroad using forged documents after the sabotage, the statement said.

However, the officer reported the plot to law enforcement, which then launched an operation to expose the Ukrainian agents. The intelligence service in Kiev used a delivery service to send the naval officer several components to make an incendiary device to sabotage the ship. The Russian officer was told that, after he provided video evidence of a fire on the vessel, he would be extracted to Finland, the FSB said.

The officer sent a staged video of a terrorist act to Kiev, but the Ukrainian intelligence services then quickly cut off all contact.

The agency also shared a clip that appeared to show one of the incendiary devices being detonated in a controlled setting.

Commissioned in 1991, the Admiral Kuznetsov has taken part in numerous deployments, including a mission in the Mediterranean as part of Russia’s military operation in Syria. At the time, the flattop was used to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants and Al-Nusra terrorist organizations.

READ MORE: Ukrainian attempt to hijack Russian strategic bomber thwarted – FSB

In 2018, it was damaged during the sinking of a dry dock and, a year later, a major fire broke out on the ship. The Admiral Kuznetsov is expected to return to service next year after modernization and repairs are completed.

The FSB also claims to have arrested a 30-year-old Russian national working for Ukrainian intelligence, who is said to have tried to organize the delivery of three high-yield explosive devices disguised as presents to unnamed senior officials with the Russian Defense Ministry. The explosives were meant to detonate upon confirmation of delivery, but this did not occur, the FSB added.

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