The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has identified Igor Strelkov as the leader of the paramilitary group that has taken control of the eastern city of Sloviansk. Strelkov is a commanding officer of a Russian military intelligence unit.
The press service of the SBU announced that they had identified Strelkov’s voice in a recording of a telephone conversation between Strelkov and a Moscow official on April 14.
The SBU said that Mr Strelkov arrived in Crimea at the beginning of March and began directing Russian troops and special forces to occupy Ukrainian military outposts and government buildings, and orchestrated the kidnappings of Ukrainian soldiers, activists, and other Ukrainian and foreign citizens.
Mr Strelkov has reportedly recruited Ukrainian citizens to conduct subversive actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
According the SBU statement, “The saboteur personally gave orders to Ukrainian citizens “K” and “B” to occupy and hold the Kharkiv regional administration building, military outfits, and law enforcement units with the goal of seizing weapons in the Luhansk Oblast.”
The SBU has already started a criminal investigation of Mr Strelkov for “premeditated murder and committing acts threatening the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of Ukraine, conducting subversion, and organizing riots in the eastern regions” of Ukraine.