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    Independence supporters take their positions on a street, during an anti-terrorist drill in Donetsk, March 18, 2015

    Ukraine's New Spy Laws Could Be Used to Subvert Peace Efforts in East

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    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)
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    A law allowing intelligence officers to pretend to be independence fighters passed by Ukraine's parliament could be used for subversive military activities in eastern Ukraine, warn experts.

    Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada has passed a law allowing intelligence servicemen to pretend to be independence fighters which could be used for subversive military operations in eastern Ukraine, experts say.

    Although the Minsk ceasefire deal prohibits active combat missions on their territory, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada has adopted the law allowing Ukrainian intelligence agents to pretend to be independence fighters of Novorossiya, whom the Kiev regime still calls "terrorists."

    Andrei Levus and Serhiy Pashinsky, the authors of the bill, insist that it will improve the efficiency of operations conducted by the Ukrainian intelligence servicemen on the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

    However, Russian counter-terrorism experts argue that the legislation makes no sense for a professional spy. Although the official duties of an intelligence officer are strictly regulated, there are no limitations on a "legend" – a life story created for a covert agent, underscored Andrei Popov, a reserve Lieutenant Colonel and member of the International Veterans Association of the Russian Alfa Counterterrorism Unit. He characterized the legislation as a "populist" move aimed to demonstrate the Ukrainian population that parliamentarians are making every effort to overcome the crisis.

    However, the counter-terrorism expert warned that the legislation could be also aimed at providing a cover for subversive criminal activities directed against peaceful civilians of LPR and DPR. Popov elaborated that Ukrainian spies, pretending to be members of DPR and LPR militia, could conduct terror acts on the territory of the republics and then evade the punishment under the pretext of their "covert work." Furthermore, their actions could also discredit the independence fighters' aims.

    At the same time Andrei Popov noted that activities of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in the southeastern regions have not yet proved to be effective. Although the SBU has experience and a large intelligence network in Novorossiya, they evidently failed to undermine the militia's ability to combat Ukrainian armed forces, the counterterror expert underscored.

    It should be also noted that the law, passed by Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, is related to combat activities, and in fact contradicts the principles of the Minsk agreement that came into force on February 15. However, experts point out that it is not the first time Kiev violates the spirit and word of the Minsk deal, using the truce to strengthen the military potential of Ukraine's war machine.

    Topic:
    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)

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    legislation, intelligence, counterterrorism, Verkhovna Rada, SBU, Ukraine
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