Russian forces appear to arrest group of 'neo-Nazis'
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The embarrassing gaffe comes as Russian FSB intelligence officers appear to have staged an arrest of a group of suspected Nazis plotting to kill journalists loyal to the Kremlin.
Experts analysing the video point out that a note left by the apparent assailants appear to show the words “signature unclear” in a literal application of likely instructions given to the writer.
Putin announced an FSB operation had exposed a plan by the group, who were allegedly backed by the West to assassinate one of Russia’s most famous TV hosts because he put it: “The West faced an information fiasco in Russia.”
In footage released by the FSB, and broadcast on state TV, the operation appears to show how six members of a suspected fascist group, recruited by Ukraine’s own intelligence agency were due to kill Vladimir Soloyov as well as other Russian TV stars.
However, the seven-minute video appears to be strewn with errors making the who piece appear to be a not so elaborate hoax.
Images start by showing officers kicking in a door of the alleged suspects before violently detaining them in the process.
Inside the venue, a range of neo-Nazi memorabilia can also be seen, ranging from Swastikas to a picture of Adolf Hitler on a desk.
An automatic rifle can also be seen in the corner of the room.
A note, written by hand, on a book of far-Right literature caught on camera said in Russian: “To Timokha, thank you for your support! Kill to live! Live to kill!”
The hoax was made all the more apparent when the signature was spotted to say: “Signature Unclear” in what appears to have been an instruction by the producers of the video to be taken literally by the props team.
Furthermore, in what should have been three SIM cards appears to have been confused with three copies of the popular computer game, The Sims.
Aside from the obvious errors, a host of weapons, hand grenades and other paraphernalia can be seen around the apartment.
Experts have been quick to point out the apparent gaffes and comment on the video.
Elliot Higgins, the head of the investigative outlet Bellingcat, tweeted: “I genuinely believe this is a dumb FSB officer being told to get three Sims.”
Ukraine’s security agency SBU said it had no plans to target the TV host.
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Putin has been keen to root out any disloyal FSB officers in recent times.
The former spy, and now President created a “Stalinist” mass purge of intelligence officers, some within his closest circles, over failures perceived during the invasion of Ukraine.
Reports suggest up to 150 officers have been dismissed from their roles or placed under house arrest.
All of those ousted were employees of the Fifth Service, a division set up in 1998, when Putin was director of the FSB to carry out operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union with the aim of keeping them within Russia’s orbit.
In March, an FSB whistle-blower claimed Russia’s war with Ukraine is now unwinnable, saying within the Kremlin the spy agency was being blamed for the failures so far and likening Putin to Hitler for wanting to start a world war.
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