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KYIV — Ukraine’s spies goal to accentuate intelligence operations and conduct sabotage strikes deep in Russian-controlled territory subsequent yr to carry the battle as near the Kremlin as potential, the top of Ukraine’s SBU safety service informed POLITICO.
“We can’t disclose our plans. They need to stay a shocker for the enemy. We put together surprises,” Main Common Vasyl Malyuk mentioned in written responses to questions. “The occupiers should perceive that it’s going to not be potential to cover. We are going to discover the enemy in every single place.”
Whereas he dodged specifics, Malyuk did give some hints. Logistics targets and army property in occupied Ukrainian territory are prone to proceed to be a spotlight. After which there are strikes that hit the enemy throughout the border.
“We’re at all times on the lookout for new options. So, cotton will proceed to burn,” Malyuk joked.
Ukrainians use the phrase “cotton” to explain explosions in Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine organized by Ukrainian particular providers. It got here from Russian media and officers describing the rising variety of such incidents with the phrase khlopok, which implies each “blast” and “cotton” in Russian.
With fight alongside a whole bunch of kilometers of entrance strains primarily stalled for a lot of this yr, the exploits of the SBU each enhance Ukrainian morale and in addition damage Russia’s battle combating skills.
“The SBU carries out focused level strikes. We stab the enemy with a needle proper within the coronary heart. Every of our particular operations pursues a particular objective and provides its end result. All this in a posh complicates the capabilities of the Russian Federation for waging battle and brings our victory nearer,” Malyuk mentioned.
One space of focus will likely be Crimea and the Black Sea, constructing on this yr’s operations.
Malyuk’s pet challenge is the Sea Child drone, referred to as malyuk in Ukrainian, which implies “little man.” The drone carries about 850 kilograms of explosives and is ready to function in stormy situations, making it tough to detect.
“With the assistance of these little guys we’re progressively pushing the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation out of Crimea,” Malyuk mentioned.
It has been used to assault the Kerch Bridge that hyperlinks occupied Crimea to mainland Russia in July in addition to to hammer Russian ships.
In October 2022 the SBU’s marine drones attacked Sevastopol Bay damaging 4 Russian warships. This yr, the drones hit two missile carriers, a tanker, an amphibious assault ship and in addition broken a big army tugboat and Russia’s latest reconnaissance and hydrographic ship.
That compelled Moscow to shift a lot of the fleet away from its base in occupied Sevastopol in Crimea, leaving the west of the ocean freed from Russian vessels and permitting Ukraine to renew use of its ports for delivery.
The Kerch Bridge continues to be standing after a 2022 truck bomb assault and this yr’s strike, however is barely partially open, Malyuk mentioned.
“It’s a authentic goal for us, in line with worldwide regulation and the principles of battle. Ukrainian regulation additionally permits us to assault this object. And now we have to destroy the logistics of our enemy,” Malyuk added.
Malyuk mentioned that Kyiv fastidiously considers its targets earlier than hanging — an effort to remain inside the guidelines of battle in distinction with Russia, which has fired missiles, artillery and drones at each army and civilian targets.
“When planning and making ready its particular operations, the SBU fastidiously selects its targets. We work on army amenities or on those who the enemy makes use of to hold out their army duties. We act totally by the norms of worldwide regulation,” Malyuk mentioned.
The SBU conducts most of its operations on Ukraine’s territory — in Donbas, Crimea and the Black Sea.
“That is our land and we are going to use all potential strategies to free it from the occupiers,” Malyuk mentioned.
Relating to planning one thing in Russia, SBU says it focuses solely on targets used for army functions like logistical corridors for supplying weapons — like the rail tunnel in Siberia hit with two explosions (the SBU hasn’t claimed duty) in addition to warships, army bases and related targets.
“All SBU operations you hear about are completely our work and our distinctive technical improvement,” Malyuk mentioned. “These operations grew to become potential, particularly, as a result of we develop and implement our technical options.”
Russia ought to put together to be hit.