You know that happy feeling when things are going your way? Everything is turning up roses? You got a nice buzz going? Well, if you feel that way then you certainly are not a member of Ukraine’s ruling elite. Some genuine chaos unfolding in Kiev in the wake of Russia’s victory in Soledar.
Let us commence with the news that someone (or a group of someones) assassinated Ukraine’s top three intelligence officials — the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Denis Monastyrsky, his first deputy Yevgeny Enin and the State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lubkovich. Wait a minute (some will say) we do not know if this was a mechanical failure or pilot error. True, no final conclusions, yet. But an eyewitness interviewed by one of the Kiev media claimed:
that the helicopter with the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine on board was spinning and burning in the air before the collision.
If that witness is giving an accurate account then it is highly unlikely that the mid-air fireball was caused by pilot error or a mechanical malfunction. This sure sounds like a surface-to-air missile, like a U.S. supplied Stinger that popped up on the black market. Here is one of the rumors floating around Ukraine. It emerged shortly after the chopper crashed into a kindergarten courtesy of someone with the nom de plume, Hacker DPR Joker:
I will tell you all, my loyal followers, what happened today in Brovary. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine had long been aware that the leadership of the Ministry of Defense was trading Western arms, which came to Ukraine in the form of aid, for the benefit of third countries, and that this process was overseen directly by the head of the GUR, Budanov. By the way, this information has already surfaced somewhere.
The leadership of the Interior Ministry wanted their share and began collecting data through their structural units, which are associated with intelligence and surveillance. As a result, they managed to obtain evidence and began blackmailing. The military bosses promised a share to the police leadership, and the first tranche was paid. But it was pointless and unprofitable to pay any further.
In addition, the insolence of the minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who had his head in the wrong place, was putting the military leadership under strain. And now the day had come when the kids from the GUR were able to demonstrate their skills. But that is not all. The sanction for this was given personally by Yermak, who is also in on the secret from the supreme narcissistic clown, Zelensky.
The key point for Hacker DPR Joker is that the head of Internal Affairs, Monastyrsky, was independent of the President, the military and the intelligence service (i.e., SBU). Because Monastyrsky is in charge of Ukraine’s national police, he and his subordinates were in a position to collect dirt on the illegal activities of Zelensky or the military and could use that as “leverage” (aka blackmail) to extract money or concessions.
That is at least one possibility that should be considered. What strikes me is that you had the equivalent of the FBI Director, the FBI Deputy Director and the Attorney General all on board the same aircraft. Why? What was their destination and why were all three on the same helo? Normal security procedures would keep the three men apart to avoid this very scenario. I cannot rule out the possibility that a Russian Spetznaz team carried out a hit. Regardless of who did it, this has created enormous turmoil within Zelensky’s government.
At a minimum, this is going to sharpen suspicions among the police, the military and the intelligence service. Warm, fuzzy feelings do not abound.
Preceding all of this was the forcible removal of Oleksii Arestovych, a former Ukrainian intelligence officer who, until this past weekend, was directing strategic communications for Zelensky. Mr. Arestovych made the mistake of telling the truth about a missile strike on an apartment building in Dnepropetrovsk. Accoridng to Arestovych, it is an errant Ukrainian missile. He said it was not Russian. Whoops!! That is verbotten. Not only was he fired (he reportedly tried to resign), but his name popped up today on the Ukrainian hit list reserved for enemies of Ukraine. That’s right. After a year of faithfully telling lies for Zelensky, he says something truthful and next thing you know he has a target for execution on his back.
Not a lot of good news in Ukraine other than the United States and Europe are promising to send more weapons to a beleaguered Ukrainian army. I actually think the Russians are more delighted by this than Ukraine. Reminds me of a scene from Game of Thrones when Tyrion Lannister thanks mutineers for an unexpected gift: