Panov, who used to serve in the 37th motorized infantry battalion and demobilized long ago, a resident of Enerhodar [the Zaporizhia region - ed.], could not be reached by his relatives since Aug. 8.
Russia has redeployed troops to border areas of Crimea and conducts measures aimed at enhancing combat readiness of its units.
Putin has already blamed Ukraine of terror: "The Russian side has incurred losses; we have two our soldiers killed. We would not forget this, for sure. I would like to address our American and European partners. I believe it's obvious for everyone that current Kyiv authorities do not seek for solutions at negotiations, but resort to terror. It ' s very alarming."
Russian propagandist from Crimea Boris Rozhin described the events as follows:
"1. Crimean FSB received information about a cache with explosives near Armiansk. Operatives left for the spot.
2. When they arrived, they found a group of 20 people, who were unloading the explosives; the group opened fire upon the operatives immediately.
3. A skirmish started, during which one officer was killed (buried yesterday). After that, reinforcement from the army was asked. The enemy acted professionally.
4. During the fight, the group split - 14 or 15 persons left through water (dragging one killed with them) to the Ukrainian territory. An armored vehicle helped the group through Syvash.
5. We also had one killed, one wounded. Four people of that group remained in Crimea, and they are being searched for (within a 'Krepost' plan).
6. Up to 500 kg of explosives were seized from the cache. The four or five persons are being searched for - they need to be taken alive before leaving Crimea or lie low."
Let's think whether such action scenario is possible.
A large group of 20 saboteurs allegedly arrives in Armiansk - this means near Perekop, where Russian law enforcement units are amassed and they could be easily spotted. They drag more than 500 kg of explosives and weapons with them over Perekopska gulf to enter an engagement.
They are revealed, so they open fire. Somehow, 15 persons manage to 'leave through water' - at that, not a word is said about a boat, which means they just swam away, taking weapons and a killed person with them. What was the speed of the swimmers?
Four or five saboteurs did not swim away, but, despite having been revealed, decided to stay in Crimea. Over three days, only one ' saboteur ' was apprehended. Where are the others? Armiansk is a small town that could be easily up-ended; the roads are closed, and open steppes controlled by Russian military are not that easy to cross. Where are the other ' saboteurs '?
This situation looks more like a provocation, not like real events.
I can believe that people in Russian military uniform could kill two Russian law enforcers. But where they Ukrainians? Who did they kill? Where are pictures and video?
I think it might have been a real skirmish with a gang that FSB itself created in large numbers across Crimea for war in Ukraine. They created numerous training fields and continue redeploying terrorists to the Donbas. Some of the militants wage war in Ukraine, others do illegal trade, covered by FSB in Transnistria, Crimea, and the Donbas.
Russia is trying to use this occasion for deployment of military units on borders with Ukraine. The search for the "saboteurs' group" looks more like a covert operation to justify the amassed troops. Or it might be an attempt to hide a real skirmish among Russian law enforcers with some elusive "sabotage group."
If the detained person is really Yevhen Panov, he is barely a saboteur: the 37th battalion is not Spetsnaz. It's a former battalion of territorial defense. I do not rule out that Yevhen could thoughtlessly travel for a weekend at occupied Crimea, and the FSB used this to hang the situation with the killings on him.
This is another proof that ATO [anti-terrorist operation - ed.] participants should not arrive to territories controlled by Russian intelligent services.
We should wait for some facts, definitely. But at the moment, this Russian version looks like a poorly staged performance, the goal of which is to blame Ukraine of its interior squabbles. Any killing or crime could be investigated, or it could be blamed on a "Ukrainian sabotage group."
And for Putin and the Russian Federation it's just a reason to escalate combat activities and conduct more terrorist attacks in Ukraine.
Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET
Related materials: Putin's provocation in Crimea