Ukraine prepares for Russian ‘attack’ by moving troops to the border with Crimea
Russia accused Ukrainian special forces of planning to carry out terrorist attacks inside Crimea and said an FSB employee and a Russian soldier had been killed in clashes with Ukrainian forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia would take serious security measures to ensure Crimea’s safety after Russia’s Federal Security Service said it had thwarted two armed Ukrainian attempts to get saboteurs into the annexed peninsula.
Russian security said it had also dismantled a Ukrainian spy network inside Crimea.
The FSB accused Ukrainian special forces of planning to carry out terrorist attacks inside Crimea targeting critical infrastructure and said an FSB employee and a Russian soldier had been killed in clashes with Ukrainian forces.
“The aim of this subversive activity and terrorist acts was to destabilize the socio-political situation in the region ahead of preparations and the holding of elections,” the FSB said in a statement.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in an operation that triggered U.S. and European Union sanctions. Ukraine says it wants the strategically-important peninsula back; Moscow says the matter is settled and closed forever.
The FSB said it had tackled one group of saboteurs in an operation that spanned Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning and that an FSB employee had been killed while trying to detain them.
It said it had found 20 homemade explosive devices, ammunition, mines, grenades and specialized weapons it said were commonly used by Ukrainian special forces.
It said it had detained a Ukrainian spy network in the process, detaining citizens of both Ukraine and Russia.
In the early hours of Monday, it said Ukraine had attempted to infiltrate two groups of saboteurs into Crimea by force, but that the FSB and other agencies had repelled the attempts.
It said one Russian soldier had been killed in what it called a “massive fire fight” when Ukrainian forces with the support of armored vehicles had tried and failed to break into Crimea.
Security had been beefed up in areas popular with tourists, at key infrastructure, and along the border between Crimea and rump Ukraine, the FSB said.
A spokesman for Ukrainian defense intelligence denied Russia’s accusation.
“This is fake information,” a spokesman told Reuters.
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