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Spurni talks about the presence of the commander of Unit 29155 in Verbetes: The operation must have been very important for the Russian Military Intelligence Unit |  Aeroslas

Spurni talks about the presence of the commander of Unit 29155 in Verbetes: The operation must have been very important for the Russian Military Intelligence Unit | Aeroslas

According to the latest information, the commander of the unit 29155 of the Russian GRU also traveled to the Czech Republic due to the operation in Vrbětice, which ended in 2014 with a likely unplanned detonation of an ammunition depot. The information was provided by the investigative group Bellingcat, in cooperation with the editorial offices of The Insider, Der Spiegel and the Czech weekly Respekt. “If the leader of this secret group was present at this event, he must have been important,” journalist Yaroslav Spurni told Radio Coral.



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According to Sborno, the text, in which several investigative teams have collaborated, shows that the event in Verbetes could have much worse consequences | Source: Czech Radio

Describe in your article The movement of GRU special unit agents and recalls that the commander of the unit, General Avirganov, also participated in Operation Vrbet. What is the path that you think took before the operation?
The explosion occurred at Vrbicetice on October 16, and Major General Averganov arrived in Vienna on October 13, switched off his cell phone and did not turn on until October 16 at 22.42. Hence, there is no accurate information about his movement. As in the whole case, which consists of a series of interlocking clues, it is based on the presence of his subordinate Ježov of the same unit 29155, who arrived in Vienna two days earlier, rented a car and drove a certain number of kilometers with him. These data indicate that Ježov and Major General Averjan went to Ostrava, where they could meet, and possibly also met other members of the group.

What does the alleged presence of the commander of Unit 29155 say about the operation in Verbetes? Listen to an interview with Respekt journalist Yaroslav Spurni

How was it possible to map the paths of the Russian agents in this way, including their identities, as well as the participation of their other superiors? Can you give an approximate definition of the sources and data used?
The resource could not be disclosed. We collaborated with other investigative teams on this article. The results of the investigation team are great Bellingcat. It has amazing and excellent access to Russian reality and is able to read a lot of phone numbers and passport records. This work has been known to him for several years. They can access passports, phones, and they can map movement with GPS tracker, find out where they rented cars, etc.

There are many clues when they have been here. Security services also have a number of technology options – one of them is face recognition. Here, it is very likely that from the moment their faces became known, from the Salisbury event, they began to recognize passports. Confirmation of arrivals and departures.

What was the role of General Aviganov? Why did he have to travel to Central Europe? Additionally, she writes that it was only one of two operations in which he was directly involved.
I don’t know the second operation. If the event was the leader of this secret group, which according to the New York Times has 20 people, then it must have been significant. A diversion against a Bulgarian arms dealer who trafficked people and countries who disliked Moscow could have been important to the Russian Military Intelligence Unit, but I don’t know how, why and what happened. However, having each unit commander promptly means the event is of great significance.


Státní zástupce z kauzy Vrbětice: Ruští agenti v Česku už nejsou, zatýkací rozkaz vydala Velká Británie


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Je možné odhadnout, proč nevyšla operace podle plánu?
Nejsem odborník na munici a roznětky. Spekulace je, že byl do materiálu a do munice instalován přístroj, podle něhož měla dodávka vybuchnout až později. Šlo asi o nespolehlivou roznětku a vybouchlo to v nesprávný okamžik. Běhá mi z toho mráz po zádech. Jsou po tom dva mrtví, ale ta munice se nějak převáží, například vlakem, a pokud by se tato nehoda stala jinde a ve větším městě, mohla z toho být větší katastrofa. Byl to neskutečný hazard.

Mohly bezpečnostní složky už tehdy zaznamenat pohyb generálmajora Averjanova nebo to bylo vyloučené?
V tu dobu to bylo prakticky vyloučené. V roce 2014 jednak nebyla jednotka známá, a navíc po výbuchu byla řada policejních hypotéz. A to samotné místo se dalo ohledat až o dva roky později. To skončilo až v roce 2020, v roce 2016 to bylo velmi nebezpečné.

Skupina 29155 byla známá až po útoku na Sergeje Skripala a jeho dceru v Salisbury. Tehdy tajné služby, ale i některé investigativní skupiny vypátraly totožnost těch, kteří se tam pohybovali, a teprve od té doby je možné jejich fotky používat.

Krátce jsem mluvil s jedním z policistů, kteří to tehdy vyšetřovali, a říkal, že měli práci s tím jen zjistit, co tam bylo, co tam bylo legálně a nelegálně, a vyznat se vůbec v dokumentech firem, které tam munici skladovaly. Jestli přiletěli tito lidé do Vídně a do Prahy v roce 2014, jejich obličeje podezření nevzbuzovaly. Technika rozpoznávání obličejů byla navíc v podstatě v plenkách.

Tomáš Pavlíček

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