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KYIV, Ukraine – Senior Ukrainian officials are increasingly concerned about Russian spies lurking in the capital, divulging state secrets and helping target sensitive military and civilian infrastructure, Fox News has learned.
“They will infiltrate the security services,” Ihor Zvhokva, a top diplomatic aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Fox News. “The armed forces, the intelligence community — you name it — with the people, with their agents.”
The espionage problem has gotten so bad, Zelenskyy recently fired two top officials, including the head of his security services, over their failure to root out the spies. Today, there are hundreds of active investigations.
“Russia was never, you know, forgetting about this dream for Ukraine to become, again, a part of Russia,” Zvhokva said. “In times of war, some of them reveal themselves and some [do] not.”
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“That’s why my president will keep fighting with these Russian agents,” Zvhokva continued. “The unlawful acts are causing casualties, unfortunately.”
During an interview with Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, the former boxing heavyweight champion of the world warned the problem is massive.
“Everywhere, there’s spies,” Klitschko said Wednesday. “They give the target and [coordinate] where the Russians send their rockets.”
On Thursday, six Russian cruise missiles hit just outside of Kyiv for the first time in weeks.
“Everyone right now in Kyiv and Ukraine is under the danger of air attacks,” Klitschko continued. “We need modern weapons, defensive weapons… Right now, it’s not enough.”
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The strikes were among more than two dozen launched into Ukraine from Belarus and the Black Sea. Zvhokva accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “deliberately” ordering the massive missile barrage as millions celebrated Statehood Day, a new holiday marking the founding of Kyiv as the capital and the birth of Christianity in Ukraine.
In the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, where massive shelling leveled entire neighborhoods during the initial days of the invasion, a local commander who helped repel the Russian advance had a similar warning about Russian espionage.
“Most of them were in Kyiv. Now they are in Irpin, in Bucha — in any city,” Vasyl, a deputy commander of a local militia in Irpin, told Fox News this week.
“They are sabotage teams waiting for Russia’s command to harm Ukrainian citizens,” said Vasyl, who declined to give his last name due to security reasons. “There are a lot of elderly people and even entire families who don’t seem suspicious at all but are actually saboteurs sending information to the other side.”
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When asked if the United States was giving Ukraine enough weapons to defeat the other side, Zelenskyy’s aide Zvhokva told Fox News, “If we had enough weaponry to defeat Russia, we would have already defeated them.”
Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former U.S. Marine infantryman, told Fox News, “For Ukraine to recapture a sizable amount of territory, short of Russian forces collapsing somewhere along the front, it will need more than just HIMARS,” the satellite-guided rocket launchers recently sent to Ukraine and responsible for destroying 100 high-value Russian targets, a senior Biden administration official recently told reporters.
“[Ukraine] needs to have sufficient artillery ammunition to suppress Russian defenses, UAVs to correct artillery, sufficient tanks and armored vehicles, and a large enough ground force with well-trained professional units not just volunteers,” Lee added.
Zvhokva’s goal is to defeat Russia completely and get them out of all of Ukraine, not back to where they were on Feb. 23rd before the invasion or even in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea. He wants Ukraine’s borders restored to where they were on Aug. 24, 1991, the day it declared its independence from the Soviet Union.
When asked what message he wanted to send back to Americans, Zvhokva replied, “Are you ready to sacrifice some part of your cozy life in order for evil not to win?”
“If this evil will not be stopped here in Ukraine, it will spread further,” said Zvhorkva. “Don’t pretend you can hide.”