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The Daily Vertical: When Spies Talk To Spies (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

When spies talk to spies it's usually pretty interesting.

And when the security-service chief on one side of an armed conflict makes a public appeal to the security-service chief on the other side, even more so.

In a televised interview this week, Ukrainian Security Service chief Vasyl Hrytsak appealed directly to Russian FSB head Aleksandr Bortnikov "officer to officer."

Hrytsak accused the Russian security services of organizing terrorist attacks in Odesa, Kharkiv, Kherson, and other Ukrainian cities.

"Even in war," Hrytsak said, "there are rules that cannot be violated" and "you've crossed the red line."

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Hrytsak concluded by asking Bortnikov: "Do you realize that you will have to answer for these actions? Do you understand that today's political leadership, including Putin, is not forever?"

Hrytsak's appeal to Bortnikov raises an interesting question: Will Putin, Bortnikov, and others ever be asked to answer for Russia's actions in Ukraine?

Because it is beyond doubt that Russia illegally annexed Crimea.

It is beyond doubt that Moscow has been complicit in the persecution of -- and in some cases the disappearance of -- Ukrainian citizens on the peninsula.

Despite Moscow's denials, the evidence is clear that Russia invaded the Donbas; and the overwhelming preponderance of evidence points to Russian culpability in the downing of Flight MH17.

And yes, there is reasonable cause to suspect Russian involvement in those mysterious bombings, grenade attacks, and arsons that have occurred over the years in Odesa, Kharkiv, Kherson, and other Ukrainian cities.

But despite all this, the Kremlin has gotten much of the world to buy into the fiction that it is a mediator in a war in which it is in fact the aggressor.

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