Ukrainian officials have publicly acknowledged their role in a car bombing that resulted in the death of a Russian-backed politician.
The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense declared on Telegram that those who betray Ukraine and collaborate with Russia will inevitably face justice, warning that “traitors to Ukraine and collaborators with terrorist Russia in temporarily occupied territories … will receive just retribution! The hunt continues!”
“It was our operation,” Andriy Cherniak, a representative of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate, confirmed to Politico.
The Telegram announcement detailed the involvement of local resistance in the assassination of Mikhail Filiponenko, a member of the Luhansk legislature. Filiponenko, who had narrowly escaped a similar attempt on his life shortly before Russia’s full-scale invasion, was a former leader of Moscow-backed separatist forces in Luhansk and had served as a representative in the region’s cease-fire monitoring center.
Ukrainian intelligence accused Filiponenko of orchestrating and engaging in the torture of war prisoners and civilians, earning him the moniker “the executioner.”
Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting and a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, provided insights to Fox News Digital. She explained that Ukraine is resorting to “targeted killings” due to the lack of expected progress from their military counteroffensive this year. “It’s an irregular form of warfare used by modern militaries when they are unable to produce a clear military victory with conventional approaches,” Koffler elucidated.
She further elaborated that such a strategy involves planned assassinations by state special forces to weaken and demoralize the enemy. Koffler opined that while this tactic is unlikely to fulfill Ukraine’s goal of expelling Russian forces from occupied territories, it could lead to a prolonged, low-intensity conflict, eventually resulting in a “frozen” conflict state.
The Moscow Times has observed that since the onset of Russia’s invasion in February 2022, several prominent supporters of the operation have been targeted. However, Ukraine has seldom admitted to direct involvement in these incidents.
The shift from a direct offensive to targeted assassinations has sparked debate among some insiders. A source from the Ukrainian SBU, Ukraine’s security service, expressed discomfort to The Economist, noting that the significance of the targets varies. A former officer of the SBU’s fifth directorate commented to the same publication that such assassinations might be intended to curry favor with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding a cynical note that the Russian government is surrounded by expendable figures.
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