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1 Dec, 2023 11:11

Dual Italian citizen in ‘Ukrainian terrorist train attack’ detained – Moscow

A man recruited by Kiev and trained in Latvia was behind two attacks in Ryazan Region, officials have said
Dual Italian citizen in ‘Ukrainian terrorist train attack’ detained – Moscow

Russian law enforcement agencies have arrested a man accused of acting on behalf of Ukraine to derail a train in a “terrorist act” in the western part of the country last month. The suspect, who has dual Russian-Italian citizenship, is also alleged to have been involved in a drone attack on a military airfield during the summer.

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on Friday that “skillfully planned” efforts by local transport security officials, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Interior Ministry, and the National Guard had helped it to apprehend the suspect, who is accused of “plant[ing] self-made explosive devices on the railway.” According to the Shot Telegram channel, citing sources, the man had acted “on ideological grounds.”

The Investigative Committee was referring to the incident in which 19 freight cars carrying mineral fertilizers were derailed on November 11 in Ryazan Region, around 200km southeast of Moscow. Russian officials initially blamed “unauthorized interference by third parties,” but later declared it a “terrorist act.” 

Investigators identified the alleged perpetrator as a 35-year-old local Ryazan resident with dual Russian-Italian citizenship. The agency said he had confessed during questioning to being recruited by Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) in February 2023.

According to the statement, the suspect underwent sabotage training in Latvia under the auspices of the country’s special services, and in March 2023 he returned to Ryazan.

The agency also said operatives had seized evidence from the man during a search, including components for making bombs as well as electronic devices containing reports on crimes already committed.

In a separate statement, the FSB claimed the alleged perpetrator had also acted on behalf of Ukrainian intelligence in July to produce explosive devices, which he then used to equip four quadcopters to attack the Dyagilevo military airfield, also in Ryazan Region. The attack reportedly did not result in any damage or casualties.

The Investigative Committee and FSB said they were continuing to probe whether the alleged saboteur was involved in other similar crimes.

Russian law enforcement agencies regularly report the detention of suspected Ukrainian agents who are accused of attempting to stage sabotage attacks or assassinate prominent Russian figures. In late November, the FSB said it had detained a pro-Ukrainian saboteur who planned to plant a bomb in the southwestern city of Voronezh, in a bid to kill an unnamed senior Russian commander.