Kiev's sabotage attempts in Crimea thwarted: Russia.
ON GUARD: Russia's security service said it has foiled armed Ukrainian attempts to get saboteurs into Crimea.
MOSCOW: Russia's security service on Wednesday said it had thwarted "terrorist attacks" in Crimea by Ukrainian military intelligence and beaten back an armed assault by Kiev's forces. The Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had foiled two armed Ukrainian attempts to get saboteurs into Crimea and dismantled a Ukrainian spy network inside the annexed peninsula. The FSB said in a statement that one of its officers was killed in armed clashes while arresting "terrorists" on the night of Aug. 6-7 while a Russian soldier was killed in clashes with "sabotage-terrorist" groups sent by the Ukrainian defense ministry on Aug. 8. An adviser to the head of Ukraine's security agency Yuriy Tandit denied the allegations, telling Interfax-Ukraine news agency that Kiev had no intention of taking back the territory "by force." The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring the frontier between mainland Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, did not report the incident. But it said car traffic was halted this week and border guards appeared to be on "heightened alert." In its statement the FSB, which controls Russia's borders, said it had "foiled terrorist attacks on the territory of Crimea prepared by the intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian defense ministry." "The aim of the sabotage and terrorist attacks was to destabilize the social and political situation" ahead of elections in September in Russia and Crimea, it said. "On the night of Aug. 8, 2016 special operations forces from the Ukrainian defense ministry carried out two more attempts to make a breakthrough by sabotage-terrorist groups," it said. The FSB accused Ukrainian special forces of planning to carry out terrorist attacks inside Crimea targeting critical infrastructure and said an FSB employee and a Russian soldier had been killed in clashes with Ukrainian forces. "The aim of this subversive activity and terrorist acts was to destabilize the socio-political situation in the region ahead of preparations and the holding of elections," the FSB said in a statement. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in an operation that triggered US and European Union sanctions. Ukraine says it wants the strategically-important peninsula back; Moscow says the matter is settled and closed forever. The FSB said it had tackled one group of saboteurs in an operation that spanned Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday morning and that an FSB employee had been killed while trying to detain them. It said it had found 20 homemade explosive devices, ammunition, mines, grenades and specialized weapons it said were commonly used by Ukrainian special forces. It said it had detained a Ukrainian spy network in the process, detaining citizens of both Ukraine and Russia. In the early hours of Monday, it said Ukraine had attempted to infiltrate two groups of saboteurs into Crimea by force, but that the FSB and other agencies had repelled the attempts.
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|Publication:||Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)|
|Date:||Aug 11, 2016|
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