Man killed by Belarusian KGB in shootout was US citizen, reports claim

Minsk Belarus

A MAN WHO WAS killed earlier this week by the intelligence service of Belarus worked for an American software company and may have been a citizen of the United States, according to some reports. Belarusian media reported late on Tuesday that an armed man had died in a shootout in the capital Minsk, which also left an intelligence officer dead and another one wounded. The man had allegedly opened fire with a hunting rifle against members of the Belarusian state security service —known as the KGB. After the man was shot dead, his wife was reportedly taken into custody.

Late on Tuesday, state television stations aired video footage showing plainclothes KGB officers storming an apartment and coming under heavy fire from inside the premises. In a statement issued on Thursday, the KGB did not identify the man, which it described as a “31-year-old terrorist”, and said he had been “liquidated with return fire”, after resisting arrest and shooting at the KGB officers in Minsk. But some media reports cited a member of the exiled opposition, who identified the deceased as Andrei Zeltser and said he worked for the American software company Epam Systems. Other reports suggested that Zeltser was a citizen of the United States, but this has not been confirmed.

Also on Thursday, the Belarusian state-owned news agency Belta claimed that the dead man was a member of the opposition movement, which views the country’s authoritarian President, Alexander Lukashenko, as illegitimate. Later on the same day, it was reported that the KGB had arrested at least 50 people for “insulting a government official” or “inciting social hatred”. Opposition figures claimed that the arrests were connected to comments in support of Zeltser that appeared on social media.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 01 October 2021 | Permalink

Ukraine jails North Koreans in missile espionage case

One of the two North Koreans being led to courtBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
A court in Ukraine has jailed two North Korean citizens on charges of trying to obtain secret technical information about missile engines. A Ukrainian government official said on Monday that the North Koreans had each been sentenced to eight years in prison, and that “they will serve their sentence in Ukraine”. Speaking to Russian-language Ukrainian daily Segodnya, the official said that Ukrainian authorities had expected that Pyongyang would request extradition of its two citizens, but that the North Korean government’s reaction had been “passive”. According to the paper, the two convicted men, who have not been named, were employed by the North Korean trade mission in Belarusian capital Minsk. It was from there that, several months ago, they arrived by train to Kiev, where they tried —unsuccessfully— to recruit a number of locals as informants. One of the latter tipped off Ukrainian authorities, who placed the two North Koreans under surveillance. Eventually, the two suspects were arrested in a rented garage in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk, while photographing technical documents with a pair of handheld miniature digital cameras. The Segodnya report stated that the documents consisted of doctoral dissertations, marked ‘confidential’, which described highly technical methods of designing effective solid- and liquid-fuel supply systems for missile engines. Some of the documents concerned the technical specifications of computer software to assist in the design of missile fuel supply systems, said the paper. The confidential documents had reportedly been taken from the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, a cornerstone of the Soviet —and now the Ukrainian— space industry, which in the early 1960s developed the R-16 (known in the West as SS-7), the first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) successfully deployed by the Soviet Union. Read more of this post

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