Christo Grozev, self-styled ‘lead Russia investigator’ with Bellingcat, confirmed on Monday his involvement in a Ukrainian intelligence plot to incite Russian military pilots to defect and hijack their planes. The senior member of the controversial Western-funded group, however, challenged the story told by the Russian side.
Russia’s Security Service (FSB) has presented “a traditional mix of forged ‘evidence’ and loosely interpreted facts” on the affair, Grozev claimed, rejecting allegations of being directly involved in the plot. According to a middleman detained by Russian intelligence, he had been receiving orders directly from Grozev on how to deliver cash to the pilots in exchange for videos proving they actually have access to warplanes.
“What is true, however, is I was involved in this crazier-than-fiction story of triple-agents, fake passports and faux girlfriends – as a documentary film maker,” he said, in a lengthy Twitter thread about the matter. Grozev did not, however, directly address the claims made against him by the detained suspect.