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CAB160 / Russia / Follow-up on surveillance of subject SOKHOLOV, YURI S. (Ref. RF-RNS420021)

T O P S E C R E T // C O B A L T STATE 232778

SIPDIS

E.O. 15307: DECL: 05/25/2042
TAGS: PGOV PINR MARR ASEC NSEC
SUBJECT: POSSIBLE THEFT OF RUSSIAN WMD

Classified By: Analyst Susan Fraser for reason 1.6 (c) and (d)

Follow-up on surveillance of subject SOKHOLOV, YURI S. (Ref. RF-RNS420021)

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1. (TS) SUMMARY: Intelligence assets observed a meeting between SOKHOLOV, YURI S. and two unidentified Russian nationals at a private residence at 32 Toporkova Ul. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka, Russia. Meeting documented 25 May 2012 per CIA information.
*** POSSIBLE NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT IDENTIFIED ***
Recommend additional surveillance assets for subject SOKHOLOV, including priority tasking for ECHELON and CANNIBAL assets covering the Kamchatka region. Recommend contacting sources within FSB and Defense Ministry to help identify the Russian nationals observed meeting with SOKHOLOV. UPDATE TO FOLLOW.
END SUMMARY.

Meeting:
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2. (TS) During ongoing surveillance of SOKHOLOV, YURI S. as part of OPERATION COBALT, the on-duty surveillance team observed the arrival of a dark-blue Mercedes sedan at the Petropavlovsk residence of SOKHOLOV at 2119hr ANAST, 25 May 2012. Two unidentified males were seen exiting the sedan outside the residence’s main entrance. (Ref. Photo 504/374812/TS/RF; attached) After a cursory security check by the subject’s bodyguards, they were escorted inside.

3. (TS) Subject SOKHOLOV met with the two unidentified males in a second-floor room of the residence that is believed to be his office. Attempts at surveillance using directional audio pickups were largely unsuccessful due to weather conditions and distance, but some fragmentary intelligence was obtained:

i. The unidentified males were Russian nationals, and members of the military. SOKHOLOV referred to one of the men as CAPTAIN GORINSKY, while the second man was introduced as SENIOR LIEUTENANT DOBRYCHEV.
ii. A transaction of some kind was being discussed. At one point, GORINSKY informed SOKHOLOV that “The Bull has been set aside and is ready for delivery.”
iii. There were questions of proper documentation to transport the object in question. SOKHOLOV assured GORINSKY that everything would be taken care of.
iv. The transfer carries extreme risk for GORINSKY and DOBRYCHEV. At one point, GORINSKY tells SOKHOLOV “If this goes wrong, I won’t be the only person facing a firing squad, you understand? I’ll make sure you’re standing right next to me.”
v. The object is being obtained for a client identified as BORIS. (Possibly BORIS TCHEVCHENKO; RF-RNS420034.) Much of the meeting was devoted to the particulars of transferring installment payments from BORIS to foreign bank accounts to facilitate the first phase of the operation.
vi. Because of the importance of the transfer, SOKHOLOV informed the men that he would oversee the operation personally.

4. (TS) The meeting concluded at 2230hr ANAST. Two members of the surveillance team followed the Mercedes as it left the subject’s residence. The sedan was observed entering the RYBACHI SUBMARINE BASE at 2315 ANAST. Surveillance was terminated at that point.

Comment:
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5. (TS) The Rybachi submarine base is the homeport for the Russian Pacific Fleet’s ballistic missile submarines, including the new Borei¬-class RPKSN. The Borei carries 16 RSM-56 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which are armed with as many as six nuclear warheads apiece. It is possible that “the Bull” referred to by GORINSKY is in fact a Bulava nuclear missile. It is imperative that we communicate with our contacts in the FSB and the Defense Ministry to identify GORINSKY and DOBRYCHEV, and determine if they have access to these weapons.

END COMMENT.

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