Ukraine - Industrial And Common Espionage

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's classified government databases are illegally being sold to members of organised crime groups, consulting firms, corporate security firms and other buyers, according to Ukraine's Security Service Sluzba Bezpeky Ukrayiny (SBU - formerly known as the KGB).

The SBU says that the most sought after databases are tax, customs and ministry of foreign databases, the price of which are determined by their sensitivity.

Since achieving independence in 1991, Ukraine has been plagued by security leaks.

From 1999 until 2002, the president's office was bugged by his political opponents.

The release of recordings of conversations between President Leonid Kuchma and high government officials created an international scandal that eventually doomed Kuchma and led to the Orange Revolution in 2004.

Russian intelligence services have also been actively recruiting agents and buying or stealing Ukrainian defence and political information since Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Russian foreign intelligence gathering service Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki (SVR), has managed to infiltrate its agents into the highest levels of the Ukrainian presidential administration, the government, the military and the SBU.

Ukrainian SBU sources point to the strategic Crimean peninsula as a 'hot spot' for SVR activities.

Crimea is where both the Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea fleets are based.

Sources in the SBU allege the SVR increased its efforts in Crimea after the joint Ukrainian-NATO Sea Breeze training exercises began in 1997.

Russia strongly protested these exercises, but was unable to stop them.

So far, the only reported incident linking Ukraine to espionage in Russia took place in April 2008 when Russian Federal Security Service Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB) agents arrested brothers Illya and Alexander Zaslavsky for allegedly stealing Gazprom documents and turning them over to Ukraine, the Russian website reported.

The FSB has neither confirmed nor denied this story and there has been no reaction from the Ukrainian government about the accuracy of the Russian website's claim.

However, the evidence points to a Ukrainian-Russian espionage battle that might escalate in the near future.

Source: Jane's Intelligence Digest