Russia

New Evidence Of Russian Agents In Eastern Ukraine

Kommersant has learned that a former professor arrested last week in the Donbass region by Ukraine has been named as a Russian FSB agent.

At an outpost in the Donetsk region.
At an outpost in the Donetsk region.
Maria Efimova, Ilya Barabanov; Yanina Sokolovskaya, Kiev

KIEV — Since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly reported arrests they say they've made of numerous Russian citizens fighting on the side of the pro-Russian militia. Moscow has always promptly denied such reports.

But new details have come to light that lend weight to Kiev's claims after Ukraine's special services said they had arrested a Russian FSB agent on June 30. The FSB (Federal Security Service) is the main successor of the Soviet KGB.

The Ukrainian forces say Igor Kimakovsky, a 43-year-old former university teacher from St. Petersburg, admitted he had been enlisted by Russian special forces back in 2008 and had been collecting information about "Ukrainian armed forces, Russian citizens fighting on the Ukrainian side as well as the social and economic state of the occupied territories."

This was backed up by the mayor of the city of Debaltseve in the Donetsk region, Alexander Afendikov, who told Kommersant that Kimakovsky had been regularly visiting the region since October 2014. He had acted as his advisor and appeared to have come to the Donbass region to help rebuild destroyed homes and distribute humanitarian aid.

An educated man

"He came sometime in March, when Debaltseve had already been taken," Afendikov said. "Until then, he was a university professor, an educated man we were glad to have here. He was a volunteer: helping rebuild destroyed houses and he came up with different programs to help the locals."

Afendikov also noted that before his trip to St. Petersburg, Kimakovsky had appealed to Ukrainian security representatives to control the humanitarian situation in the city and keep an eye on what aid was going to Debaltseve and how it was distributed.

Igor Kimakovsky used to be the director at St Petersburg's Centre of Information Technology, and allegedly would inform the FSB about student demonstrations in St Petersburg. Former students told Kommersant that Kimakovsky would arrange for the distribution of military-patriotic crosses and would travel regularly to the Chechen capital of Grozny.

Neither the university he worked at nor the Russian Defense Ministry would comment on Kiev's claims.

Also, in May, pro-Ukrainian forces arrested two men it said were Russian soldiers in Lugansk. The Russian Defense Ministry continues to insist that there is no Russian military presence in the region, and that those arrested were ex-soldiers, and demanded their release.

Also in May, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that in the course of a few months, some 80 soldiers from Russian special units had been captured.

The Russian government has refused to comment on the latest detention, but said they would "make every effort at rescuing illegally detained Russian citizens abroad."

The Ukrainian security forces have not commented on Kimakovsky's fate, but the mayor of Debaltseve is hoping he can negotiate for his release through a prisoner exchange.

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Geopolitics

In Sudan, A Surprise About-Face Marks Death Of The Revolution

Ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was the face of the "stolen revolution". The fact that he accepted, out of the blue, to return at the same position, albeit on different footing, opens the door to the final legitimization of the coup.

Sudanese protesters demonstrating against the military regime in London on Nov. 20, 2021

Nesrine Malik

A little over a month ago, a military coup in Sudan ended a military-civilian partnership established after the 2019 revolution that removed President Omar al-Bashir after almost 30 years in power. The army arrested the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and, along with several of his cabinet and other civil government officials, threw him in detention. In the weeks that followed, the Sudanese military and their partners in power, the Rapid Support Forces, moved quickly.

They reappointed a new government of “technocrats” (read “loyalists”), shut down internet services, and violently suppressed peaceful protests against the coup and its sabotaging of the 2019 revolution. During those weeks, Hamdok remained the symbol of the stolen revolution, betrayed by the military, detained illegally, unable to communicate with the people who demanded his return. In his figure, the moral authority of the counter-coup resided.

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