Inside Russia’s ‘remote control killers’ as secret unit of ex-gamers & IT boffins behind Ukraine missile blitz unmasked

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VLADIMIR Putin has reportedly hired an army of geeks, gamers, and IT technicians to program his remote missiles that have unleashed devastation on Ukraine.

The team, including a married couple, is in charge of setting the targets and flight paths of mad Vlad‘s deadly cruise missiles which have struck ordinary Ukrainians‘ homes and businesses.

Russia’s ‘remote control killers’ have been unmasked
Bellingcat
Russian Ministry of Defence

Recently, the country has increased the attacks on civilian infrastructure[/caption]

Russian Ministry of Defence

Russia is increasingly launching missiles at Ukraine remotely[/caption]

An investigation by the website Bellingcat has revealed that the group in charge of Russia‘s remote missile launches is made up of young men and women, many of whom with IT and even computer gaming backgrounds.

Some also worked at Russia’s military command centre in the Syrian capital Damascus between 2016 and 2021, during which time Putin’s forces deployed cruise missiles in the country.

The group, which is part of the Russian Armed Forces’ “Main Computation Centre of the General Staff”, reportedly has offices at both the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Moscow and the Admiralty headquarters in Saint Petersburg, thousands of miles from the frontline in Ukraine.

A picture of the remote control killers taken in 2013 and provided anonymously shows the mostly-male young group in a courtyard at the Moscow headquarters of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

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Bellingcat reports that the group of military engineers is made up of both army and navy professionals as well as young people recruited from civilian jobs.

Most of those from non-military backgrounds worked in jobs linked to IT and computer science.

They are largely in their late 20s, with the four youngest members just 24 years old.

Their pay is far better than that of the average Russian, rising from around 80,000 rubles (£1,144) a month in 2018 to 130,000 rubles (£1,859) a month in 2020.


The attacks on October 10 marked Russia’s largest coordinated missile strikes since the beginning of the war in late February.

At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in the early-morning raids, according to Ukraine’s national emergency service.

Despite Russia’s bragging about the precision of its cruise missiles, open-source evidence shows a number of non-military targets were hit, including apartment buildings, nurseries, and playgrounds.

Missile strikes continued on October 11, with at least 28 rockets launched at Ukraine, leaving many in Kyiv, Lviv, Vinnytsia, and Dnipro without power.

Further cruise missile attacks in the past week have seen international prosecutors warn that Russia may have committed war crimes.

All you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Everything you need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine…

The group is reportedly led by Putin crony Colonel Igor Bagnyuk, who was previously awarded a medal by Vlad for his service in Syria.

This included devastating airstrikes on the city of Aleppo in 2016.

One of the most bizarre pieces of information uncovered about Col Bagnyuk is that he is reportedly trying to sell one of his medals on the Russian equivalent of eBay.

An ad for the medal, awarded for his “contribution to the organisation of the Sochi Olympics,” which he received in 2014, is up for sale for 6,500 rubles, or £93.

The reported members of the group were identified through open-source data of thousands of graduates from Russia’s leading military institutes focussing on missile engineering and programming.

Russia is facing a war crimes probe over the strikes on non-military targets
Getty
Russian remotely-launched rockets have struck sites in Kyiv, Lviv, and elsewhere
Getty

Bellingcat analysed leaked employment and telephone entry data on the graduates and discovered that some of these people were referenced in phone contact lists as working at the Main Computer Centre (GVC) or the Main Computation Centre of the Armed Forces of Russia.

The website then obtained phone records of Major General Baranov, the highest-ranking individual linked to the GVC.

Analysis of some 126 phone calls made between the start of the war on February 24 and the end of April showed a correlation between significant Russian cruise missile attacks and incoming calls just before coming from the number of Colonel Igor Bagnyuk.

Many of the alleged remote-control killers, when contacted, denied any involvement or hung up immediately.

One, Artem Vedenov, who had a number of phone calls with Bagnyuk around the time of the missile attacks, bizarrely claimed to work on a farm.

Another, Lieutenant Ekaterina Chugunova, said she was a florist, and insisted the journalist had the wrong number.

A third, engineer Vladimir Vorobyev, denied having anything to do with the remote missile strikes and expressed shock when he was shown a picture of himself in a military uniform.

The Kremlin is likely to rely on remote strikes more in the future as it looks to slow down the staggering losses of men and equipment it has suffered in the past eight months.

British intelligence claims Russia has lost more than a quarter of its 90 Ka-52 attack helicopters.

A Russian military chief has called for a meeting with his counterparts in the UK and US, amid rumours Moscow is looking for a way out of an “unwinnable” war.

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While Russia’s grip on some of the territories it illegally annexed just weeks ago is already said to be weakening.

It is believed that the pro-Putin puppet installed in Kherson has been removed, while officials have left their posts and local merchants are refusing to accept Russian rubles.

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