The top-secret special forces of GRU 29155 have been engaged in “destabilization of Europe” for ten years, writes The New York Times (NYT), citing data from Western intelligence agencies. The unit allegedly involved in an attempted coup in Montenegro, the poisoning of the Skripals in British Salisbury, as well as in the “campaign to destabilize” Moldova.
Western intelligence services previously linked these events with Russia, but investigated the incidents as unrelated. This is now a “coordinated campaign,” NYT writes.
Details The activities of the unit are almost impossible to keep track of, intelligence officials of four countries told the newspaper.
- Part 29155 includes people who went through wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Ukraine, NYT writes. Its headquarters is located on the territory of the 161st special training center in the east of Moscow. The operations are so secret that other GRU officers are not aware of the existence of the unit, the newspaper said.
- The alleged head of the unit is Major General Andrei Averyanov, a participant in two Chechen wars and the holder of the Hero of Russia medal. Judging by the photographs studied by the publication, the daughter of Averyanov married to GRU employee Ruslan Boshirov (real name, presumably Anatoly Chepiga) – him and Alexander Petrov (real name, presumably Alexander Mishkin), the UK considers guilty of poisoning the Skripals.
Quote. “I think we forgot how cruel Russians are inherently,” said Peter Zwak, a retired military intelligence officer and former defense attache at the US Embassy in Moscow, at NYT. He added that he did not know about the existence of the unit
- Employees 29155 “work on a tight budget,” the newspaper said. For example, General Averyanov “lives in a dilapidated building of the Soviet era” near the headquarters.
- In 2012, unit 29155 received bonuses from the Ministry of Defense for “special achievements in military service”. Encourages were also issued to 74455, which the United States accused of being involved in the 2016 “election interference”.
- Employees of the secret unit have repeatedly been awarded medals of the Hero of Russia, NYT points out. In addition to Averyanov, it was received by Petrov and Boshirov.