Belarus: Ukrainian journalist arrested by KGB was deep-cover agent. Russia involved?

The Belarusian Committee for State Security (KGB) has held a briefing on the detention of Ukrainian journalist Pavlo Sharoiko in Minsk.

“Pavlo Sharoiko, an officer of Ukraine’s military intelligence, was detained on October, 25. He worked undercover as a radio correspondent. In Belarus, Sharoiko created a spy network of the citizens of Belarus who carried out his tasks on collecting intelligence information in the military and political sphere,” Belarus KGB spokesman Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn said on Monday.

According to him, copies of ‘intelligence reports’ were found during the search.

A criminal case under Article 358 of the Criminal Code (espionage) was opened against Sharoiko. Moreover, the Committee also arrested a citizen of Belarus who carried out ‘espionage activities’ serving the interests of Ukraine, Pabyarzhyn said. His name was not revealed, but the arrestee was said to have admitted guilt. The man is charged with treason (Art. 356 of the Criminal Code).

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense denies that journalist Sharoiko is career officer of Ukrainian intelligence service.

“Indeed, Pavlo Sharoiko used to be a serviceman, but since recently, he has been working as a journalist and has nothing to do with intelligence agencies,” quotes a representative of the ьinistry.

The arrest of Pavel Sharoiko is based on a forged document, Dmitry Tymchuk, a Ukrainian MP and coordinator of the Information Resistance group, believes.

Shortly before the arrest, an employee of the state-run Russian TV station NTV asked Sharoiko to meet with him, he states with reference to his own sources. The Russian journalist allegedly tried to give him ‘secret documents’ on Russia’s using the territory of Belarus for preparing an attack on Ukraine. Knowing that it was a provocation, Sharoiko refused to take the documents. On the way home, he was arrested by the Belarusian KGB.

“The document, which they attempted to pass to Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sharoiko is an imitation of real confidential documents used by the Defense Ministry of Belarus. In addition, its form and style bears a close resemblance to those of Belarus MoD documents,” Tymchuk said on Facebook.

In his opinion, ‘given the involvement of an employee of a Russian propaganda tool, one should assume that it was not an independent operation completed by the KGB, but the joint operation of Belarusian and Russian intelligence services.

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