The Ukrainian military has discovered a startling finding as it prepares for a harsh winter following the failure of its counteroffensive against the invading Russians. Russian intelligence is believed to have put a bug in the office of the country’s top military commander, according to security officials. Additional vulnerabilities may have been discovered, which could indicate a significant Russian intelligence operation.
Reporters were informed by Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi on December 18 that a covert listening device had been found in his offices by Security Service personnel conducting a regular sweep. Zaluzhnyi mentioned that he has multiple offices, but he did not specify how he uses the compromised one. He probably doesn’t want Russian spies listening in on anything he does in there.
Although he did not specify where else the bugs had been detected, Zaluzhnyi continued by saying that they had been found “not only” in that office. The Russian government’s intelligence services, particularly the Russian General Staff (GRU) and the State Intelligence Agency (SVR), which succeeded the Soviet KGB’s international intelligence bureau, naturally target any Ukrainian political or military post.
At least ten assassination attempts against the chief of Ukrainian military intelligence have been carried out by Russian spies throughout the nearly two-year-old war. The Ukrainian intelligence community has retaliated by sabotaging Russian infrastructure.
Infiltrating people’s offices with microphones is something that Russian agents have done for quite some time. The most infamous incident occurred in 1945, when a Soviet student group presented US Ambassador W. Averell Harriman with a wooden plaque depicting the Great Seal of the United States. Hanging the plaque in his office in the Moscow embassy, Harriman displayed an act of breathtaking innocence.
Six years down the road, a listener at the British embassy who was keeping tabs on Soviet radio traffic overheard American speakers on a military channel. A search eventually found a clever bug concealed behind the Great Seal after the British contacted the US Embassy. It had been transmitting the ambassador’s office communications to Soviet listeners for a period of six years. There may have been a bug in Zaluzhnyi’s office for some time; Ukraine has not stated how long.