Ilya Bogdanov, a former Russian citizen and ex-FSB officer who defected to Ukraine and fought against pro-Russian forces in Donbas, has been freed by the Ukrainian security service after the FSB attempted to kidnap him and traffic across the Ukrainian-Russian border, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
”Our special operation was to prevent plans of a criminal gang controlled from abroad, from Russia, to kidnap and kill a civilian, who is a citizen of Ukraine,” SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak said at a joint briefing with Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko on Friday, November 18.
The operation was conducted jointly with the National Police of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General`s Office of Ukraine.
Bogdanov fought for Ukraine, and ”the Russians do not forgive such things,” Hrytsak said.
”This was a second attempt to kidnap and kill this man. In February last year, we prevented the first attempt. A killer was detained, he was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison last October and is in jail now,” the SBU chief said.
The hit man was an FSB convert and he confessed he had been hired by the Russian security service in Belgorod.
According to the Liga.net news outlet, the Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies received information that Bogdanov had been kidnapped and was illegally kept for further transportation to Russia.
”We`ve created a strong team, with the engagement of the Alfa special operations center as a combat force and the use of our technical capabilities, and sent the group to Kharkiv, as Bogdanov was kept there. After the kidnappers had been located, an operation was launched near the border [with Russia] to capture that group – we call them logistic support, these are Ukrainian citizens,” Hrytsak said.
”They don`t give up attempts to eliminate me. I`m a citizen of Ukraine. And these are acts of terror against me,” Bogdanov, who was also present at the briefing on Friday, commented on the situation.
”The SBU has worked well. They`ve managed to defeat the KGB legacy. This is awesome. This is a victorious page in the history of the Ukrainian special services. I`m grateful,” he added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, there had been no signs of Bogdanov`s activity on his Facebook page or public appearance since November 12, and his friends in Kyiv contacted the police. Bogdanov was officially announced missing, and a search operation began.
Bogdanov, 28, was a regular officer of the Russian FSB special service. In 2014, amid the Russian assault on Donbas, he defected to Ukraine, joined the Right Sector volunteer battalion and got involved in combat against the combined Russian-separatist forces. In 2015, he left the Ukrainian battalion and settled down in Kyiv. Later he became one of the few Russian nationals fighting in Donbas to obtain Ukrainian citizenship.