On June 15, 2015, Russian media reported about two members of the Ukrainian security services who switched sides to fight for the separatists’ Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Two brothers, Alexei Miroshnichenko, an employee for the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, and Yuri Miroshnichenko, head of security for the Ukrainian Embassy in France, fled first to Russia and then came to Luhansk crossing the uncontrolled by Ukraine border at Izvarino.
On June 15, a press conference was held in Luhansk during which they both voiced the most absurd slogans of Russian propaganda. They made statements about the legions of foreign NATO soldiers, punitive battalions, and other horrors of war that are deployed by Russian media in their rhetoric aimed at discrediting Ukraine. It is noteworthy that the former security services employees announced their most odious statements constantly glancing at a sheet of paper with instructions.
After that, internet trolls intensified their activity in social media with suggestions that Kyiv would abandon those officers and make statements that they never served in security services or were dismissed long ago. However, Moscow’s expectation, based on their own behavior, like in the case with the two captured servicemen from the 3rd Spetsnaz Brigade, failed to materialize.
Head of the Directorate General for Policy and Communications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleksii Makeiev confirmed that Yuri Miroshnichenko was indeed a commandant (head of security) of the embassy and on June 9 disappeared from France.
On June 16, then* the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko confirmed the defection of the two security officers and said that criminal proceedings under the article for state treason had been launched. Nalyvaichenko stressed that the defectors’ propaganda statements were false.
What did prompt two young men with quite successful careers to leave their positions and go for such an adventure? Authorities have not yet made any statements to that effect, so we conducted our own investigation using the OSINT techniques.
During informal communication with representatives of law-enforcement agencies we found out that their father Mikhail Miroshnichenko is a close friend and cohort in corruption schemes of Olena Lukash’s husband Hryhoriy Illyashov.
To better understand cause-effect relationships we need to recall what positions these people used to hold.
Olena Lukash served as Minister of Justice of Ukraine from July 4, 2013, through January 28, 2014. After the shooting of protesters in Independence Square and the end of the Revolution of Dignity, in the beginning of the Russian aggression in Crimea, she and her husband left Ukraine and moved to the Russian Federation.
Hryhoriy Illyashov headed the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine from June 18, 2010, through February 27, 2014. He graduated from Simferopol higher military-political construction College (1982-1986) and completed Higher Counterintelligence courses of the KGB (Novosibirsk, 1988). He and his wife moved to the Russian Federation.
The Internet website “ORD” that often publishes revealing materials on behalf of the representatives of the foreign intelligence service and other law-enforcement agencies, in one of its articles noted that Hryhoriy Illyashov was closely connected with Mikhail Miroshnichenko and for over 10 years the two of them together conducted shady financial transactions at customs.
As a result, Mikhail Miroshnichenko has built substantial wealth and is even considered a “dollar millionaire” in Luhansk. With the outbreak of the war in eastern Ukraine, he came under close attention of the Russian FSB. According to rumors, he was even promised a position of the Head of Customs of the LPR.
Now let’s go back to his sons Alexei and Yuri Miroshnichenko. The story they told for the Russian television about their desire to defend and fight for the LPR and great love of the “young republic” and about how the brothers “couldn’t watch the fascist junta committing genocide of the people of Donbas” is nothing more than a bright wrapping, covering the banal desire of gain, snuggling up to a wealthy dad.
In the Ukrainian elite security services such as the Main Directorate of Intelligence, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Security Service of Ukraine, there are still quite a lot of “well positioned” sons that do not extend neither intelligence, nor patriotism. Their professional and moral level leaves much to be desired. It is not my personal opinion but the opinion of the employees of these agencies watching frankly failed personnel policies prevailing there, when careers are built not on merit and professionalism but on connections.
* On June 18, 2014, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko was relieved of the office by the decision of the Verkhovna Rada. On the same day, Vasyl Hrytsak was appointed as active head of the Security Service of Ukraine by Presidential Decree No. 344/2015.