U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon brass were concerned over signs that Russian Spetsnaz units were infiltrating into the Caribbean region. Yes, the Caribbean neighborhood, America’s backdoor, is becoming an increasingly contested strategic space in the global competition with Russia, despite our positional advantage.
U.S. intelligence found that hundreds of Russians, including Russian Spetsnaz cells, were bolstering Venezuela’s air defense systems, and advising on upgrading their SU-30s aircraft. The Spetsnaz motto is “Any mission, any time, any place”, and it appears Venezuela and the Caribbean region is their newest “place” of operation.
Their presence is particularly troubling to U.S. intelligence, since they are an arm of the dreaded Russian GRU intelligence agency. As well as running regular agents, who have a propensity to hunt down and poison Putin’s opponents, the GRU’s spetsnaz (special ops) commandos are specialized in conducting reconnaissance and sabotage.
In Soviet times, they were active in conflict zones around the world, and spearheaded the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Presently, they are still very active and have conducted 119 targeted operations in the North Caucasus in 2006 alone, during which they killed more than 100 members of terrorist groups. Unfortunately, they are currently infiltrating into the Caribbean via Venezuela.
Interestingly, there are female Spetsnaz operatives. It has allowed female members for some time, and women have been incorporated into its officer training.
Spetsnaz are well-trained special ops soldiers with much training in intelligence-gathering and surveillance techniques. A Green Beret soldier, who worked alongside them during the Kosovo/Serbia conflict, said they “were keen on tactics and had great intuition and instinct. They could shoot well, took care of their weapons and equipment, were in great physical shape, and were very well-disciplined.”
They go through basic training for two months, then spend four years in advanced training before being allowed to join. They are skilled in martial arts, trained in “Systema”, a military martial arts system that was developed from Cossack fighting and was used by the former KGB and counter terrorism groups of Russian special forces.
The MISSION OF VENGEANCE spy thriller reveals Spetsnaz tactics and why CIA Spymaster Corey Pearson was so uneasy about their presence. Here’s a few snippets from the novel:
Corey thought hard. Spetsnaz is a murderous Russian special ops division. When the Kremlin annexed the Crimean Peninsula from the Ukraine in 2014, it was largely accomplished by Spetsnaz infiltrators disguised as civilians. Corey wondered how many were lurking around him and his counterintelligence teams, right now.
Corey stared down at the captured Spetsnaz warrior who was strapped to the waterboarding plank below him. He spit at them. “You Americans are so stupid! My President Putin will take care of my family after you kill me. They live in a plush apartment in Saint Petersburg and my children will someday go to Lomonosov Moscow State University, all paid for because of my loyalty to Spetsnaz and the GRU. I will die for my mother Russia, knowing my loved ones will be taken care of.”
Corey said, “When you were abducted, we made it look like you defected to the U.S. One of my agents is planted inside the El Nacional newspaper and tomorrow’s headlines, with your photo, will announce that you walked into the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo and turned traitor. We even parked Boris Markov’s SUV in front of the embassy with a note taped to the steering wheel. Putin will relocate your family to Siberia and your wife will scrounge to put food on the table.”
“Fuck you, American!” He spit at Corey again. “Putin will drive you out of the Caribbean. You will soon see what I mean. There are Spetsnaz sleeper cells all over the Caribbean and you’ve not seen anything yet. The sonic weapon’s attack on your diplomats in 2017 in Havana was just a warning. You will be driven out of the Caribbean and my mother Russia will move in and take over!”
End of SNIPPET
Lastly, this video, Green Berets vs Spetsnaz- Special Forces Comparison, shows how the U.S. Green Berets and Russia’s Spetsnaz come on top of the special forces list. It pits the two together to decide which is best.
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community, and relishes traveling to the Florida Keys and Key West, the Bahamas and Caribbean. He combines both passions in his Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series. Check out his latest spy thriller: MISSION OF VENGEANCE.