Artificial intelligence has become one of Ukraine’s “most effective tools” for identifying potential saboteurs in the ongoing war with Russia, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
The ministry on Wednesday released a report on anti-sabotage activities by law enforcement agencies aimed at arresting people in Ukraine who may compromise the counteroffensive or assist Russia in its assault. Officers have used software on tablets to check whether someone they consider ‘suspicious’ is already listed in databases, including a police database of around 2 million people suspected of holding positions in paramilitary units of the far-right faction known as the Liberal. Democratic Party of Russia (GDPR).
The early days of Russia’s attack on Ukraine were littered with reports of massive anti-war protests in Russian cities and thousands of arrests, but the report sheds light on Russia’s own efforts Ukraine to fight against acts of sabotage among its own population. The ministry said Ukrainian police have been fighting these saboteurs since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“More than 123 counter-sabotage groups have been set up, and at least 1,500 people have been involved,” First Deputy Interior Minister Yevgeny Yenin said in a statement, according to an English translation. “And the result was not long in coming: more than 800 people suspected of sabotage and intelligence activities were arrested and handed over to the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) for investigation.”
The report, citing Yenin, said the police database of people suspected of having ties to the LDPR alone contains an “enormous amount” of operational information that law enforcement and their partners have compiled. That includes more than 10 billion photos, he said.
Yenin said sabotage groups can vary in profile and number as they can be created to perform different tasks. Closer to the start of the Russian invasion, for example, Ukraine identified five to ten people charged with carrying out “terrorist acts” and sabotage, including in the center of the capital, Kyiv.
Since then, most saboteurs have focused on tasks such as trying to share the location of armed groups and recording the effectiveness of bombardments via missiles or artillery, according to the report.
Ukrainian civilians have aided law enforcement in their anti-sabotage efforts by reporting potential suspects, Yenin said.
“Only one in 10 reports is true, but it’s worth it, because detecting saboteurs is one of the key factors in ensuring public safety in wartime. And thanks to information from our operational sources, we succeeded to prevent a terrorist act against the leadership of our state,” he said, apparently referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia has also reportedly faced sabotage from Ukrainian supporters within its borders.
Russia’s Federal Security Service announced last month that it had arrested a supporter of “Ukrainian Nazis” in the town of Kemerovo who allegedly damaged two power lines, causing a temporary power outage in the area.
Newsweek contacted the Ukrainian Interior Ministry for further comment.