In his comments for a 1+1 TV show,  Serhiy Leshchenko attempted at damage control dismissing the Bellingcat findings as ‘mud-slinging’ adding the failed operation was used to ‘undermine the government’ .

The politician known for his ties to Zelensky’s administration said the sting operation targeting  Russian mercenaries in Minsk was a ‘project’.

‘There are attempts to unseat the government putting all the blame imaginable on it and earn political dividends [througt it], and there is this defensive stand where the government says ‘We haven’t done that. And the investigation drew a red line about the things confirmed and the things unfounded’.

Later in the TV show, Leshchenko questioned credibility of  the new Bellingcat report as its findings were solely based on revelations of former chief intelligence senior Vasyl Burba.

He argued that Bellingcat investigators ‘failed to verify the information [that came from Burba] and establish the accuracy or inaccuracy [of his claims] through other independent sources’.

Bellingcat ‘Wategate’ investigation caused a stir on social media and raised new uncomfortable questions for Zelensky administration.