Espionage Incident Highlights russian Naval Shortcomings

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Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) agents arrested on espionage charges a Ukrainian from Mykolayiv who had been seeking intelligence on advanced Ukrainian naval technology to sell to russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). It is not surprising that the SBU would uncover a spy for russia in Mykolayiv, which for decades housed the most advanced shipyards in the Soviet Union, writes John C. K. Daly for The Jamestown Foundation.

The SBU’s announcement tersely stated only that the suspect was attempting to sell “classified shipbuilding information” to russia. Yet, it is possible to deduce what the specific target likely was: notably, Ukraine’s shipyards maintain an advantage over those of russia in the construction of maritime gas turbine propulsion systems.

russia has been unable to master this high-technology area since Ukraine’s post-2014 ban on advanced military exports to russia. As such, the technology certainly remains high intel priority for moscow.

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