Russia steps up spy cell in Ukraine, seeks to 'split' authorities, security official says
Oleksiy Danilov (Photo:

Russia has activated an espionage network in Ukraine and is trying to "drive a wedge" between the country's military and political leadership, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, said in an interview with the British newspaper The Times.

The Russians are supposedly trying to "drive a wedge between the political and military leadership of Ukraine, as well as inflame anti-government sentiments among the population," taking advantage of the alleged "conflict" in the top military-political leadership.

The secretary of the National Security and Defense Council also said that Russia is trying to "spread disinformation and propaganda to destabilize the situation in Ukraine."

Since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, the Russians have been using the narrative about the "conflict" between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Sometimes this misinformation is also replicated by internal forces in Ukraine.

"They understand that they cannot win by military means, so attempts at internal destabilization have become a priority," Danilov concluded.

Maryana Bezuhla, deputy head of the Verkhovna Rada's committee on national security from the Servant of the People party, believes that the leadership of the Armed Forces "must go." She claims that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi failed to provide a plan for the year 2024. Roman Kostenko, a member of the defense committee of the Verkhovna Rada, told that Bezuhla's attack should be perceived as an attempt to discredit Zaluzhnyi.

Danilov noted that the Security Service (SBU) is one of the main security bodies of the state, which makes a huge contribution to the resistance to Russian aggression, implements effective operations and neutralizes Russian influences. According to him, the security sector will always be in the zone of interest of the Russian Federation.

"Aware of the level of threats, the leadership of the Service has carried out and is doing significant work to clean up the organization. This work is ongoing. The positive qualitative changes that have taken place are noted by our partners and give them a high appraisal. The Service has moved to a qualitatively new level of its work, which fully corresponds the requirements of the time," the press service of the NSDC quotes him as saying.

On November 7, 2023, MP Volodymyr Aryev stated that the minister of defense submitted a request for the dismissal of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, but later deleted this message and published a refutation. Russian propaganda and some Ukrainian outlets managed to spread his message.

Fake materials appeared online, on which the voice and video of Zaluzhnyi were faked. In it, the Russian side again made allegations about the supposed conflict between the army commander and the president.