On this day last year, Ukraine was rocked by revelations about alleged leaks from Zelensky’s top officials that led Ukraine’s intelligence operation failure.
On Thursday, protesters gathered at the president’s office in Kyiv to mark the date the leak scandal broke out.
Protesters called for investigation on ‘pests’ who work alongside Zelensky but act against Ukraine’s interests.
‘We suspect that a Russian mole in the close circle of the president has leaked information on Wagner mercenaries capture plan and lots of other sensitive information… He brought in to the president’s office lots of spiteful Russian rats, and this place calls for cleansing’, said one of the protest organizers Oleksandr Makhynya addressing the crowd.
The rally put on display the puppet called ‘mole Andrey’, taking a veiled swipe at Zelensy’s top aide Andriy Yermak who was allegedly involved in Wagner operation leak.
‘By showing this ‘mole Andrey’ and [calling out] these ‘pests’ we would love to show and tell Zelensky that he is surrounded by moles and rats. We call for the president’s office to remove those pests from the administration’, added Mikhenya.
What we know about ‘Wagner mercenaries’ capture operation
In late April, Belarus law-enforcement agencies reported arrests of 33 ‘Wagner’ paramilitary group members in Minsk who allegedly arrived in the country to ‘destabilize the situation before the elections’.
The journalist Yuriy Butusov and “Ukrainska Pravda’ news site informed that the Ukrainian intelligence service agencies were planning an own capture plan for the mercenaries earlier detained in Minsk.
According to media reports, the secret operation had been in works for a year and was supposed to lure the Wagner mercenaries to Venezuela offering to employ their services for oil rigs protection. In return, the Wagner group members would provide evidence on their ‘presence’ and ‘unlawful’ acts in Ukrainian Donbas.
Chief Intelligence Directorate head Vasyl Burba and SBU deputy head Ruslan Banaretsky reported to the president’s office on the upcoming plan. The confidental information was reportedly made known to president Volodymyr Zelensky, his top aide Andriy Yermak , Intelligence Committee chair Ruslan Demchenko, and President’s Office deputy head Roman Mashovets. The plan subsequently stalled after Zelensky’s top aide Andriy Yermak asked to put it off citing problems with a planned prison exchange.
In a few days time, the scheme suffered a complete failure after the Wagner mercenaries’ group arrest in Minsk.
Ukrainian intelligence professionals cite leaks from the Zelensky top officials as a probable cause for the operation failure.