Ukrainians are taking responsibility for an undercover operation that recently eliminated a prominent politician who sided with Russia. The fatal plan unraveled when a vehicular explosive was used, taking the life of the politician and prompting an uproar. Ukrainian military intelligence took little time to voice their stance regarding the incident, painting the event as a consequence of disloyalty and association with Russia, which they refer to as a terrorist nation.
The Ukrainian intelligence body addressed the public via a message on Telegram, in which they asserted, ‘those who betray Ukraine and conspire with Russia in our occupied territories … will face the consequences! Our pursuit is relentless!’ The statement also identified those from the occupied area who allied with the resistance, as instrumental in the execution of Luhanyak assembly member Mikhail Filiponenko.
Filiponenko’s life was tragically cut short, ironically after he narrowly escaped a similar fate from an earlier car bombing plot. The Ukrainian authorities asserted that the resistance members from the occupied zone aided in the assassination of Filiponenko. It’s pertinent to note that this event preceded Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine by just a few days.
Before the onslaught by Russia, Filiponenko was a key figure in the separatist movements supported by Moscow in Luhanyak. He had not only led these troops, but also represented the faction in ceasefire negotiations within the region. This information was shared by Radio Free Europe, which has been keeping a keen eye on unfolding events in the troubled region.
In addition to detailing his previous involvement, Ukraine’s intelligence body claimed that Filiponenko had played an ominous role in the torture of both war prisoners and ordinary civilians. His involvement earned him the moniker ‘the executioner’, amplifying his notorious image among the population.
Given these disturbing trends, Rebekah Koffler, who leads Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, and has previously served as a Defense Intelligence Agency officer, offered her insights. Speaking to Fox News Digital, she suggested that Ukraine, unable to make significant strides in their counteroffensive this year, may resort to ‘targeted terminations’.
Koffler described this strategy as an ‘irregular warfare pattern’, commonly used by modern military forces when conventional methods fail to ensure clear victories. ‘In the shadows, this clandestine warfare entails the intentional assassination of specific rival forces by a state — essentially, its special forces. The aim is to gradually erode, demoralize, and discourage the opponent,’ she elucidated.
Koffler also made the prediction that this new tactic is highly unlikely to achieve Ukraine’s ultimate objective of reclaiming the territories seized by the Russian military. ‘However’, she added, ‘it might transition the Ukraine-Russia conflict to a new phase — a long-drawn, low-intensity phase, which could ultimately render it a ‘stalemate’ conflict.’
The Moscow Times has registered several instances of ‘high-ranking patrons’ of Russia’s incursion being targeted since the operation began in February 2022; though Ukraine seldom attests to a direct participation in these incidents. The move from an aggressive offensive towards Russia to selective assassinations has left many contemplating the purpose and precision of this strategy.
The change in strategy from a full-frontal attempt to push back Russia to selective assassinations has raised queries about the intention and coherence of Ukraine’s approach. Certain insiders have voiced reservations, as the move seemingly indicates a measure of scattergun approach.
A confidential informant within the Ukraine domestic security service, known as the SBU, confided to The Economist, voicing worry over the strategy. The documented discomfort centered around the fact that the targets selected for these operations are often ‘peripheral players.’
A seasoned officer from the SBU’s fifth directorate offered a slightly different perspective to the outlet, suggesting that the assassinations in some cases are meant to garner the attention of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Given the circus-like atmosphere around the Russian government, this officer quipped sarcastically, ‘The likes of clowns, courtesans, and jesters are omnipresent.’
According to this seasoned officer, the assassination of such individuals results in little more than a macabre game of musical chairs. ‘Eliminate one, and another simply emerges to take their place,’ he posited. This cynical point of view underscores the challenges and complexities of the ongoing conflict.
Through the upheaval, the cold assertion of the Ukrainians sends a clear message to individuals or groups considering siding with Russia. The grim reality of repercussions in the form of ‘targeted terminations’ haunts not only those directly involved, but extends its icy fingers to those watching from the peripheries.
In conclusion, it’s largely the civilians who will bear the brunt of this conflict and its new strategies. As the situation seesaws between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed entities, the waters are becoming ever murkier, leaving onlookers uncertain of the path ahead and pondering the true cost of conflict.