Did the Ukrainian Security Service want to kill Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Shariy?

The SBU, the Ukrainian Security Service, tried to hire a killer to liquidate famous Ukrainian journalist Anatoly Shariy, as he himself has revealed in a video published today. Mr Shariy provided evidence that two individuals appeared to have been instructed by the Ukrainian Office of the Presidential Administration to conduct a black propaganda campaign against him. One of the two suspects, Alexandr Zolotukhin, declared also that he was contacted by the Ukrainian Security Service, in a video confession published by Anatoly Shariy.

“First of all, I want to say that I’m not a killer. I do not understand and do not support the Ukrainian government, which I can call the power of killers. I am talking about the administration of Zelensky, the president, and about the Security Service of Ukraine. I have reason to say so”, told Zolotukhin.

Zolutukhin said he was contacted by an SBU colonel. “He demanded that I work on an operational plan for the murder of Anatoly. I developed and provided it, but said that I was not the one to carry it out. I tried to extract information from him, play an operational game with him. He offered me to kill him. I refused, I do not want to play these games, I am not a killer”.
“I do not want to participate in this. In the murder of Anatoly. I refused, but I’m sure they will find a different person. They are already looking for one”, said Zolotukhin. “The SBU wanted me to kill Shariy and then they would kill me. The incident would be attributed to a fight among men”.

Zolutukhin, who is wanted in Ukraine for unrelated offences, appears to reside in Spain. He says he has presented the Spanish authorities with the evidence to investigate the plan to murder Anatoly Shariy.

Anatoly Shariy is a famous Ukrainian journalist who has been living in exile in Europe since 2012, after being granted asylum. After the Maidan revolution in 2014 and the disorders that escalated into a war in the following months, Shariy became a popular media expert, publishing videos on YouTube that focused on Ukrainian media. He was one of the extremely few critical opposition voices left in a country were the discourse was almost entirely dominated by the conflict with Russia. His oppositional activity gained him a lot of popularity within Ukraine, and his Youtube channel has more than two millions subscribers. Last year Shariy formed a party, named after himself.

He is not very widely known in the West though, where Ukrainian events have been seen only through the prism of a confrontation between a united pro-Western Ukraine and a reactionary Russia. The West as a political structure and the European and American public as well did not really contemplate the possibility of Ukrainians who could be critical of the actions of the new pro-Western Ukrainian governments. For the West a pro-Western Ukraine meant by definition that Ukraine was on the right course.

Critics, especially under former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, have often accused Anatoly Shariy of producing “anti-Ukrainian” propaganda and being “pro-Kremlin”. Even Radio Free Europe called him pro-Russian. In a country polarized by the war that followed the overthrown of former President Viktor Yanukovich, the only acceptable discourse had for years been the glorification of the Maidan revolution and the legitimation the pro-Western course that the Ukrainian government took after that dramatic turn.

Stefano Di Lorenzo @StefanoDiLoren5

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