Thursday, July 14, 2022

    Lutsk violinist, light aviation enthusiast turned out to be a spotter for Russian missile attacks

    Violinist Ilya Smetanin, who is part of the Academic Chamber Orchestra of the Regional Philharmonic, turned out to be a Russian spy.

    On the night of February 23-24, an alarming rumble at the Lutsk airport brought war to the region. It was a local musician, Ilya Smetanin, who helped Russian invaders hit the local airfield with missiles.

    As Ukrainian war pilots were readying for their mission, the traitor called them to ask where they were flying – only to pass information on to the Russian intelligence.

    That wasn’t the only missile attack on the city – on March 11, Lutsk was hit again. Four people were killed and about a dozen – maimed.

    According to the local newspaper Vysokyi Zamok, Ilya was born into a family of musicians, raised in Lutsk in a neighborhood once inhabited by the Soviet military. He used to boast about his grandfather being part of the missile forces, while his mother once dreamed of becoming a pilot.

    Besides his musical profession, Ilya was fond of airplanes. In 2010, Ilya Smetanin co-founded OVAL, the Volyn Aviation Enthusiasts Organization. In fact, however, he was one an informant leaking to the enemy all the information about the Lutsk-based aircraft – both military and civilian. He provided information about the operations of aviation clubs, airfields, training grounds, and even an aircraft modeling club for children. He was also proud to be able to gather intelligence on Ukraine’s air defense and strategic missile forces.

    In March 2020, he had already been in the focus of security services in a case where a former fighter pilot was arrested for trying to hand the Russians intelligence about a local airfield. Even back then, the paperwork set to be transferred to Russia suggested that Moscow was plotting to bomb the airfield and deploy sabotage units to attack a munitions depot. Smetanin was also detained in that inquiry but detectives eventually failed to collect enough evidence to press formal charges.

    Smetanin was also known for his sympathy for the Soviet Union.

    Now the Russian asset is remanded in custody awaiting trial. He has already apologized to the people of Ukraine for his  treacherous act.