Over the past week, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has conducted a large-scale special operation in the Odesa region.

Since the beginning of Russia’s renewed invasion that started on Feb. 24, the SBU has worked steadily to identify members of enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups, collaborators and other criminals wanted by justice.

This week, they neutralized a powerful criminal group in Odesa, which had agreed to cooperate with the enemy, ready to join the invading Russian troops if they captured the city. Investigators checked possible contacts with the Russian Federation and discovered more than 40 people from criminal organizations involved.

SBU spokesman Artem Dekhtyarenko reported: “In the course of a large-scale special operation of the SBU and the National Police, leaders and members of criminal groups, including Emil Varshavsky and Paizulaev, known bosses in criminal circles, were arrested. Collaborators maintained contact with Russian Federation officials, briefed them about the situation in the region, and even intimidated the local population. Some members of the group joined the territorial defense ranks to gather information on the Ukrainian army in the region of Odesa.


According to the SBU, those arrested should have gathered information on law enforcement and people loyal to Ukraine. All members of the gang, Ukrainian citizens, were arrested. Among their leaders were two foreigners: one expelled from Ukraine, while the other was already abroad.

Particular attention was paid to the Odesa region, as the enemy did not abandon plans to capture the region. The Russians tried to involve both law enforcement officials and representatives of different local ethnic minority groups.

In addition, with the assistance of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Odesa region, information was collected on provocateurs who could have destabilized the situation in the region.

Six citizens were deported from Ukraine based on these charges.

During the operational and investigative measures on criminal activity, four locations where drugs were produced on a large scale were also identified and over 3,000 hemp bushes and about 2 kilograms of dried finished products were seized.


This war is cleaning up not only traitors, but also local and foreign criminal organizations.

Ugo Poletti is the editor of the Odessa Journal.

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