A Foiled Plot

According to The Kyiv Independent, Russian assassins with ties to Special Services were planning to kill the head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, and Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. They quoted a source from Ukraine’s Security Service, or SBU, that said the assassins were to be paid $150,000 for each killing.

The would-be assassins face down and cuffed. Image Credit: mil.in.ua

However, those fees were never collected because the plot was foiled before it could be carried out.

A Ukrainian Interior Ministry Advisor, Anton Gerashchenko, posted a video and other information concerning the planned attacks on his social media accounts. The video begins with ominous music playing as we have a point-of-view shot from the body cam of a Ukrainian Security Services agent. Stern orders are given to two bag-toting suspects we see strolling down a cobblestone street. In a second, two armed agents appear from the left of the screen, their faces covered, and they quickly take down each of the suspects. Another agent comes in from the right side of the screen as the dog walking with them escapes unharmed. The would-be assassins are in custody.

Video footage courtesy of Twitter and @Gerashchenko.

Most of us in the West don’t speak enough Russian or Ukrainian to get the full picture of what is being said in this video. That’s where friends of ours like Dmitri and his excellent website War Translated (check it out) come into play. I’ve spoken with Dmitri not too long ago, and he graciously gave us at SOFREP his permission to repost content from his site, provided we name him as the source.

With that duly noted, here is his transcript of what is being said in the Twitter video shown above:

War Translated


-On the ground! On the ground!

-Quiet, quiet! Hands!


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– Not GRU, but GUR, f*ck.

-Ah, GUR.

-Yes, I read, there were so many assassination attempts of him. No one could f*ck him up. They are giving $150,000 for him.

00:49 (They had a test mission killing a UAF soldier)

-It happened a day or two later.

-I’m standing in the park, drinking beer, and you send me these photos, I’m like…“f*cking hell.”

01:00 (Discussing options for assassination)

-I’m even ready to put on this uniform for the full picture, you get it? With chevrons and everything…

-Yes, look, the best thing is “MON-100”. It goes like this, brown, like a circle.

-Is that what you suggested to place in the door?

-Yes, there’s also “MON-50”, it’s even smaller. The “MON-100” must be in a bus where there is a large space because it will be on its own, we’ll put it on magnets, and a small fuse will be sticking out. With such distance. The “MON-50” is like this, but it is bent.


-They recruited me to carry out missions on the territory of Ukraine. Missions included assassination military servicemen, including leaders of volunteer battalions. We also discussed assassinations of Minister of Defense Resnikov and GUR’s Budanov. For the first mission, I recruited a person who lives in the territory of Ukraine. He conducted observations and photography. Then he bought a pistol…

OK, What Is a MON?

I’m glad you asked. A MON (be it the 100 or 50 variant) is an old-school Soviet-era landmine. MON is an acronym and stands for “Minnoye Oskolochonym Napraveniem”. This translates to “directional fragmentation anti-personnel landmine.” The Russian MON-100 contains 2kg of high explosives that send hundreds of small steel rods out hundreds of meters. The lethal range is generally determined to be 100 meters from the point of detonation.

A Soviet-made MON-50 antipersonnel mine. The text on the front, “К ПРОТИВНИКУ,” translates roughly to “towards enemy.”    Image Credit: Martin Olsson via Wikimedia Commons

The MON-50 looks almost exactly like an American Claymore mine. As you can see in the image above, they have folding scissor-type legs. The piece you can see centered on the bottom of the mine can be used to clamp or spike it to a solid surface. Take note of the peep sight on the top center of the mine and an arrow pointing forward. If that arrow is pointing towards you after you have it prepared to detonate, you could ruin your whole day.

These contain 712 grams (that seems like an oddly precise amount) of RDX or PVV-5A high explosives. It fires metal rod fragments (or steel balls) in a 54-degree arc and has a lethal range of approximately 50 meters.

The other target. Major General and Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Image Credit: Office of the President of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian Military Portal, mil.in.ua, has also reported extensively on the thwarted assassinations. They note that the group tasked with killing Reznikov and Budanov was comprised of active duty members of Russian Special Services. Apparently, assassination is one of the “special services” that they offer. In addition, one of the men involved in the assassination plot was reportedly a member of the Luhansk People’s Republic or LPR. This group has been identified as a terrorist organization by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.