Renditions, Spooks and Rhetoric - Another incident in Ukraine

Oh dear.  The international community are claiming to be in shock that Leonid Razovozzhayev managed to get spirited away from Ukraine where he was attempting to claim asylum, and reappeared in Russia some days later telling a quite harrowing tale of abduction, torture and false confessions.

There seems no point in going into too much detail over who Mr Razvozzhayev is, other than to say he is a very vocal critic of the Kremlin and Mr Putin, that when the heat became too much crossed the border into Ukraine and was seeking to claim asylum.

Suffice to say, according to his own account, having been directed to The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society by the UN High Commission for Refugees in Kyiv, en route he was bundled into a van, handcuffed and had his legs chained to his hands, was hooded in a balaclava and then immediately driven  for 5 hours, crossing into Russia.

That he was renditioned/kidnapped (take you pick of the word you prefer) from a street in Kyiv would seem to be the only involvement that Ukraine has in the incident as far as his version of events goes.  He makes no claims of Ukrainian collusion in this act and to be fair, why would he?  It is not an act that would require Ukrainian collusion to pull it off.

Lest we forget a similar case in April 2011 relating to Dirar Abu Sisi which I commented on several times.  (Indeed a link heavy sentence if ever there was one!)

Mr Sisi managed to get spirited away on a train to Kyiv and ended up in an Israeli jail.

The net result a formal demarche by Ukraine to Israel and nothing more - What more, realistically, could be done?

Quite what we are supposed to expect to differ as far as Ukrainian reaction goes in the case of Mr Rozvozzhayev, I am not sure.  If Mossad can enter Ukraine, remove a Palestinian from a train and fly him back to an Israeli jail under the noses of the Ukrainian security services, then it is far easier for the Russians to simply take a Russian citizen from the streets of Kyiv and drive them a few hours over the border into Russia under those very same noses.

That is not to say the Ukrainian security services are necessarily inept in either case.  Neither the Russians nor Mossad are going to involve them in acts such as these - they have no reason to.  Neither would Ukraine want to know.  Far better to deal with the fall out than to actually be involved.

Particularly so when both renditioned/kidnapped in these cases are known to the UN.

Naturally so close to an election the United Opposition are claiming Ukrainian security forces involvement , which even Mr Razvozzhayev is not claiming, but that has more to do with hoping to score political points than the realities of state sponsored “spookery”.

It can hardly come as a surprise to anybody that there are foreign agents acting within the territory of Ukraine, particularly the United Opposition who were in power only a few years ago - unless they missed all the national security meetings or didn’t get the security memos.

So aside from a severe disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty by the Russians in this case, and the Israeli’s last year, it is very difficult to point a credible finger at Ukraine for doing anything nefarious in either case.  Particularly so when talking about two nations like Russia and Israel as the perpetrators of these forced repatriations.  Neither could be classed as “beginners” when it comes to such antics, or see the need for them to seek Ukrainian assistance in their operations of this type.

Can we and should we expect anything more than a few internal questions that will come up blank and possibly a formal demarche from Ukraine to Russia?  Realistically, I doubt it.  What other options does it have?

Can Ukraine be held responsible? - No, not from the account given by Mr Razvozzheyev relating to his own abduction and forced repatriation.

This is a case that demands answers from Russia - just as the Sisi case demands answers from Israel.  Few if any answers will be found in Ukraine.