Ukraine lured suspected Russian war criminals out of the country with fake, $5,000-a-month jobs to try and arrest them, report says

An Ukrainian solider patrols at Shyrokyne, Mariupol, v on April 26, 2021.
An Ukrainian solider patrols at Shyrokyne, Mariupol, on April 26, 2021. ALEKSEY FILIPPOV/AFP via Getty Images
  • Ukraine coaxed suspected Russian war criminals abroad so they could try and arrest them, per CNN.
  • Ukrainian spies offered them lucrative, fake jobs in Venezuela, which many applied for, the report said.
  • In one case, 32 Russians lured to Belarus under the guise of work were detained, per CNN.
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Ukraine lured dozens of suspected Russian war criminals out of the country with offers of fake, $US5,000 ($AU6,768)-a-month jobs so that they could try and hold them accountable, according to a CNN investigation.

Ukrainian security services posed as a private Russian security company looking to hire Russian mercenaries for jobs guarding Venezuelan oil facilities, three former Ukrainian officials told CNN.

Many took up the job offers and proffered illuminating details about their past work for Russian agencies as part of the interview process, CNN said.

“They started to reveal things about themselves, sending us documents, military IDs and proof of where they’d fought,” a former military intelligence officers told CNN.

Two Russians even directly linked themselves to the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, CNN reported.

The plane was struck by a missile and brought down over Ukraine, killing all 298 onboard. In May 2018, a Dutch-led joint investigation team blamed Russian entities for the attack and charged four men – including three Russians – with carrying it out.

“There were two who were present when the missile that downed MH17 was launched,” another former Ukrainian military intelligence official told CNN.

“Four others were members of a group responsible for shooting down our military aircraft and killing at least 70 of our best men.”

As a result of the operation, 32 Russians who were lured to Minsk, Belarus, under the guise of work ahead of the country’s 2020 presidential election were detained by Belarusian secret services, CNN reported.

The arrests took place during a raid on a resort the men had been staying, which they were told was a halfway house before they were to travel to Venezuela, CNN reported.

The US knew of the sting and supported it, the outlet added.

CNN did not say what became of the 32 detained in Minsk. Belarusian authorities said at the time that the detained men worked for the Wagner Group, a private Russian paramilitary or mercenary company with close ties to the Russian government.