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The arrest of Major-General of SBU for treason: experts have different opinions

Major General Valery Shaytanov from Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), who allegedly worked for the FSB of Russia, was detained in Ukraine. The SBU website reports that Shaytanov is suspected of treason and the commission of terrorist acts, in particular, the plotting of the murder of a volunteer Adam Osmayev. Promote Ukraine asked experts about the importance of this arrest amid a military conflict with Russia.


Viktor Chumak

 Victor Chumak, former Acting Prosecutor General of Ukraine, former Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine:

If such detention has taken place, it shows that, in principle, the intelligence services are working, the counterintelligence is doing its job, they cope somehow. Last year’s counterintelligence report referred to more than 30 cases involving Ukrainian citizens, accused of treason. Plus Ukraine opened 7-8 cases of espionage by foreign citizens. So counterintelligence works.

From the other side, we cannot estimate the number of foreign agents on our territory. Russia is actively engaged in a hybrid war. We see the exposure of Russian agents around the world, so we can say that there is very active work. The so-called intelligence agents are exposed. These agents usually have a network of people involved in terrorist, sabotage, and other activities. They are performers. Then the whole network is disclosed, but it will be called differently and these agents will be differently qualified in criminal cases.

I won’t say that the situation with counterintelligence is bad, but I can not assess how effectively it counteracts Russia. War always requires such actions, war inspires such actions from the aggressor, from others. Don’t forget that we call our people who work on that side as intelligence agents, and we call spies those who work against us. So you understand that, in principle, our people are there too. Today it was reported that the Russians detained some Ukrainian network in the Crimea. This special operation of Russia is a response to the detention of Shaytanov. They want to have people to change, and so on.

Olesya Yakhno, a political scientist:

Olesya Yakhno

The detention of such a high-ranking official, Major-General, who was responsible for a considerable number of operations in Ukraine, testifies about highly professional Ukrainian intelligence work. Shaytanov is suspected of country treason and acts of terrorism. It convincingly tells us that there is no desire for peace in the Russian Federation. De-facto, this is one of the proofs that the war continues for three directions. First of all – the military action in the Donbas. The second is the information campaign. In particular, the SBU recently reported that many accounts on the social networks have been blocked from which the fake information about the coronavirus was distributed. The third area, of course, is special operations. And disclosure of an agent of this level, above all, indicates the conduct of the hybrid wars against Ukraine.

Yuriy Saukh

Yuriy Saukh, a political expert:

The event has great resonance. How did such a deep mole appear in this institution? We can assume that all this is part of the struggle in the security agencies. At the same time, Shaytanov “was led” for a long time, and there is also information that he did meet with FSB representatives in Europe. However, why was it declassified right now, during the crisis in the state and society? In case, it could be a technology to distract the audience from more serious problems in the country. The findings of the case will give definitive conclusions.

Mykola Spiridonov

Mykola Spiridonov, an expert at the Ukrainian Institute of Analysis and Policy Management:

I still have more questions than answers. We may have all been provided with incomplete information so far. Shaitanov’s conversation with the curator looks primitive. Is the intelligence service general and his Russian “counterpart” able to act so bad? There is also doubt about the purpose – to kill Adam Osmaiev. Why? What threat does he pose, and why should he be killed by the general and not others? Therefore, we await further information from the competent authorities.

Yurii Podorozhnii, a political scientist:

Yurii Podorozhnii

I cannot say for sure that the detained general is an intelligence agent. I would wait for the court decision because the video and audio did not finally convince me. This kind of conversation could also occur in normal, non-intelligence life. Moreover, today technology allows you to mount anything. We have seen many scandals that have been scattered without proper evidence, like a card house.


The comments have been taken by Natalia Tolub and Natalia Richardson

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