The coup attempt in Montenegro, poisoning Bulgarian businessman of Hebrew and ex-GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, and “destabilization campaign” in Moldova involved in the same branch of the GRU – 29155, writes The New York Times, citing sources in the Western security agencies.
As writes the edition, earlier all these events were considered as unrelated, but now the conclusion is that we are talking about a “coordinated campaign to destabilize Europe, which is an elite unit”. According to the newspaper, this unit has been working for at least ten years, but Western security agencies drew attention to it only recently. It is located in the training center of special purpose N161 in the East of Moscow. Some of the employees of this unit are veterans of the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Ukraine. Its operations are so secret that other GRU officers unaware of its existence.
For the first time Western intelligence agencies drew attention to the division after a failed coup attempt in Montenegro in 2016, but to assess the scale of the activities started only in 2018 after poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia. Initially, the British authorities have identified two suspects – Anatoli Chapiha and Alexander Mishkin (also known as Alexander Petrov, and Ruslan Bashirov).
According to two sources, the newspaper the year before poisoning three employee units 29155 flew to the UK. It was Mishkin, and two individuals who traveled under the alias Sergei Pavlov and Sergey Fedotov. Later it turned out that Pavlov and Fedotov were participating in the operation, in which an attempt was made to poison a Bulgarian entrepreneur of Hebrew in 2015.
GRU officer, retired, familiar with the work of the unit 29155, confirmed that the profile of its employees – “sabotage” missions that occur in groups or one at a time, including “explosions and murder – anything”. “This is serious”, – he said. In 2012, the division 29155 became one of the three divisions, which was to obtain from the Ministry of defence bonuses for “special achievements in military service”. Among them was also a unit 74455, which the US accused of involvement in the intervention in the elections in 2016.
Head of Department, according to the publication, – General Andrei Averyanov. In 1988, he graduated from the Tashkent military Academy, then participated in the Chechen war in 2015 received the medal of Hero of Russia. The newspaper also writes that although we are talking about an elite unit, it seems to work in a “limited budget.” Averyanov, in particular, lives in a decrepit Soviet era building a few blocks from the headquarters of the division and goes to VAZ 21053 model year 1996.