Ukraine Claims Fire on Russian Ship Was an Inside Job

( – A Russian dissident secretly collaborating with Ukrainian military intelligence started a fire on a Russian warship which badly damaged the vessel, according to officials.

On Wednesday, July 3rd, Ukrainian officials for the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) held a press conference and said that a Russian dissident, communicating under the callsign “Hoga,” targeted a Russian missile vessel in April, igniting a blaze that damaged it. According to HUR, the fire specifically damaged automation and communication systems on the ship, called Serpukhov.

During the press conference, the Ukrainian officials shared a video clip of the fire, which was started inside a cabin, and diagrams of the vessel detailing the impact of the blaze.

A military legion called “Freedom of Russia,” composed of Russian dissidents fighting for Ukraine, took credit for the fire and said Hoga was one of their recruits.

The recruit, who served in the Russian Baltic Fleet, reached out to the “I Want To Live” program last year through its secure phone line established for Russian dissidents to reach out and arrange surrender. The program began in late 2022, a few months into the war, which kicked off in February 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. Over 220 Russian soldiers have reportedly reached out through the hotline to surrender.

Hoga joined the Ukraine legion of dissidents covertly while remaining an active service member on board the vessel, risking his own life to relay information back to HUR from the Serpukhov. The dissident then reportedly stole secret documents from the ship before sabotaging it and escaping to Ukraine.

Ukraine intelligence officials claim that the Serpukhov is one of the most advanced ships in the Russian fleet. The missile ship, which was previously stationed in the Black Sea, is capable of striking targets on land using cruise missiles. In 2016, it was assigned to the Baltic Fleet.

Although the estimates vary and the true number of casualties remains unknown on both sides, hundreds of thousands have perished in the war since it began, and millions have been displaced from their homes.

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