British volunteer fighters are suspected of triggering a deadly attack on a Ukrainian military base after their cellphones were traced in the vicinity.
When 30 Russian cruise missiles slammed into the Yavoriv site near the Polish border on March 13, at least 35 persons were killed, possibly including three British ex-special forces men.
The International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security, where Ukraine was training foreign civilian volunteers for its international brigade, is thought to have been the primary focus on the site.
In the hours leading up to the missile attack, monitoring gear in the vicinity saw about 12 to 14 phone numbers beginning with +44.
Mercenaries employed by the Wagner Group, a covert military firm with ties to the Kremlin, were suspected of acting on the field at the time, according to security sources.
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It has sparked suspicions that the hired guns were prepared to intercept the numbers using their own screening technology and relay them on to Russian intelligence, which connected the information to ex British military members and authorized an assault right away.
When a gadget pings a local phone mast to link to the network so a client may place calls or send messages, the phone number can become exposed to eavesdropping technologies.
Russia is claimed to have a massive database of phone numbers related to special British forces, gathered through classified surveillance operations near British military facilities.
Several of the British men who’ve already chosen to assist the opposition to Vladimir Putin’s special military operation had already served in these forces, so their presence on a Ukrainian phone network would set off alarm signals in the Kremlin.
A source said: “As soon as Moscow got any whiff of possible British presence on the base, they would have immediately ordered a strike.”
The bombardment on the base, one of Putin’s deepest ventures west in the three-week-old war, highlights the dangers that British recruits face if they travel into the conflict zone, especially if they neglect to employ caution when using technological devices.
There is also suspicion that Russian operatives have penetrated the expanding volunteer force that reacted to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s rallying call.
“There was potentially a mole placed in the unit (on the Yavoriv base) who was seen running from the camp around 30 minutes before the attack, with a laptop and kit,” a source said.
The disorganized character of the effort to train foreign recruits frightened British volunteers who, by a strange coincidence, fled the camp barely hours before the strike, according to the Telegraph earlier this week.
Carl Walsh of Wales’ Rhondda Valley and Ollie Funnell of Eastbourne, East Sussex, claimed they had obtained guarantees from Ukrainian officials that they would be able to join the international brigade as doctors ahead of time.
However, when the soldiers landed at the base, they were told that they would be dispatched to engage in the Battle of Kyiv after only 48 hours of training – despite the fact that they had no military experience.
“They didn’t even have weapons in camp to train with,” claimed Mr Walsh, a 50-year-old veteran combat medical technician.
To avoid getting pulled into a direct battle with Russia, Britain has not sent soldiers to Ukraine, but a large number of former military veterans have traveled there to either combat or teach and assist local forces.
The British Army revealed earlier this month that a “small number” of active soldiers went absent without leave to attempt to enter the conflict.
It has heightened fears that Russia may use the capture or execution of any rebellious British servicemen to declare Britain has joined the war.
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has cautioned that any soldiers who go to Ukraine to participate will be prosecuted when they return.