Political turmoil in Belarusian-Ukrainian relations has affected the security sector
Belarusian-Ukrainian relations are approaching the “red zone”. Security services have become involved in a potential crisis, which would create problems in security cooperation between Belarus and Ukraine in the future.
On April 25th, 2018, Ukrainian Security Service officially informed about Belarusian KGB’s attempt to recruit a Ukrainian citizen to collect and pass confidential information to Belarusian special services. The news immediately became viral. Meanwhile, on April 26th, 2018, the SBU deleted the information about the recruitment without any explanation. It should be noted that the circumstances of the recruitment reported by the Ukrainian special services last week coincided with the last year’s incident. It is likely that the issue was one and the same.
That said, on March 27th, 2018, Presidents Lukashenka and Poroshenko spoke over the phone. Due to scarce official reports, the conversation between the president was not a pleasant one. Further, on April 24th, the Belarusian president made a degrading statement about the Ukrainian revolution during his annual address to the parliament. Then, on April 25th, the SBU posted a message about the recruitment of a Ukrainian national by the Belarusian KGB.
As a rule, the discovery of a recruitment by a foreign intelligence service is not disclosed and is used in an operational game against hostile intelligence or subjected to secret proceedings, when it comes to intelligence by friendly states. The disclosure of such information and, moreover, using it for a manipulation (representing an old case as a recent one), must have been intended by Kyiv, which points to a serious crisis in bilateral Belarusian-Ukrainian political relations at the highest level.
The fact, that special services have become involved in a negative political play, is a serious problem. By the virtue of their special status in the national security system, cooperation between other power agencies of Belarus and Ukraine could be hindered.