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Ukrainian Negotiator Named in Big Terror Plot

Kyiv also reportedly believes pro-Russian groups in the country are using cryptocurrency to support rebels.

12 March 2018

A Ukrainian who negotiated prisoner exchanges has been accused of trying to assassinate President Petro Poroshenko and other high officials.


When law enforcement agents detained Volodymyr Ruban (pictured) on 8 March at a checkpoint in the partly rebel-held Donbas region, they found assault rifles, light machine guns, pistols, and more than 50 mines in his van, as well as anti-tank weapons, grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) head Vasyl Hrytsak said. Some of the weaponry was Russian-made.


Ruban first smuggled weapons into government-held areas in November, The Kyiv Post cites Hrytsak as saying.


Ruban heads a civic organization that organized prisoner-of-war swaps between separatist and government forces, Reuters reports.


At a 9 March meeting with Hrytsak, Poroshenko said Ruban was part of a criminal group that planned “large-scale terrorist acts.”


Ukraine also suspects pro-Russian groups of using cryptocurrency to finance the separatists, Politico contributor Vijai Maheshwari writes.


One such allegation came after Ukrainian police seized more than $4 million (3.2 million euros) of computer equipment used to mine cryptocurrency in a February raid on a semiconductor plant in Kyiv. Officials said details of accounts in Russian banks were also found, and claimed profits from the mining operation were transferred to the Donbas.




  • Ukraine presents a cryptocurrency paradox, according to Maheshwari. Officially it remains more suspicious of the rapidly growing technology, while neighbors Belarus and even Russia embrace it. Yet “Ukrainians are also on the forefront of the cryptocurrency revolution with hundreds of startups in the blockchain space,” he writes, adding that Ukrainians can buy bitcoins for cash at more than 5,000 ATMs in the country.


  • Aside from Poroshenko, accused arms smuggler Ruban planned to use his arsenal to attack the residences of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov, and others, Hrytsak said.


  • The Ukrainian military said separatist forces launched four attacks on Ukrainian army positions between yesterday morning and today, killing one soldier and wounding three, Unian reports.


  • The European Commission has recommended providing up to 1 billion euros in new funding to support economic stabilization and structural reforms in Ukraine. The EU has so far pledged 12.8 billion euros to support reforms in Ukraine, the Commission announced last week. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is on a two-day visit to the country.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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