Russian Security Forces tried to massively recruit Ukrainian servicemen, mostly representatives of naval forces who were in the Crimea before the occupation, as was stated at a briefing by the Chief of Staff of the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachuk.
According to him, this information is the result of the military counterintelligence operation that has lasted since 2014. He added that “dirty techniques” were used for recruitment.
"People are detained, are taken away to the forest and are told ‘look, there are grenades, ammunition we found in your possession. Here is your weapon. You either sign a document that you will work for us or we will detain you and you will become a criminal’,” he said.
Moreover, according to Tkachuk, they threatened to kill relatives who remain in the Crimea. Tkachuk assured that the Security Service discovered such recruitment attempts immediately and an informational transfer to Russian handlers was blocked.
According to him, most navy personnel remained loyal to their oath and voluntarily informed their leadership and the SBU of recruitment attempts. On the other hand, two servicemen were sentenced to 12 years in prison for high treason. In total, over 30 criminal proceedings have been registered as part of the special operation.
Tkachuk added that Russian officers were interested in the number of combat troops of Ukrainian military units, their weaponry, locations, and guidance and operation instructions regarding the use of Ukrainian forces, results and details of mobilization activities and so on.
During the briefing, video recordings were played of the servicemen’s testimonies about attempts to recruit them. Their faces were hidden and their voices were changed for their protection.
Tkachuck reiterated that voluntary reporting to the SBU on a recruitment attempt releases the informer from criminal responsibility.