Alpha Group (Ukraine)

Special Group "Alpha"
Spetsgruppa "A"
Нарукавний знак ЦСО СБУ.png
The badge of SBU Alfa Group
Active 28 July 1974–present
Country  Soviet Union (1974–1991)

 Ukraine (1991–present)
Branch Spetsnaz of the KGB


Security Service of Ukraine

Type Special forces
Role Special operations
Size Classified
Garrison/HQ Kyiv
Nickname(s) Alpha Group, Alpha (Alfa)
Engagements Soviet Union:

Operation Storm-333

Aeroflot Flight 6833 hostage crisis

January Events

Soviet coup d'état attempt

Russian constitutional crisis


War on Terror

2014 Ukrainian revolution

War in Donbass

Gen. Viktor Karpukhin

Gen. Gennady Zaitsev

Special Group "Alpha" is a branch of the Security Service of Ukraine; and a successor of the Soviet Union's Alpha Group.[1]

History [ edit ]

On 28 July 1974, Alpha Group was created on the orders of the KGB Chairman, Yuri Andropov, in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich massacre. It might have been established as a response to West Germany's creation of the Grenzschutzgruppe 9 (or the GSG 9).[1] By attaching a special-purpose unit to the office of the First Chief Directorate in Moscow (later the Seventh Directorate[2]), it was hoped that the Soviet Union's defensive capacity against terrorist attacks would increase significantly. At the time, other, more offensive special forces of the KGB included the groups Zenit and Kaskad/Omega. Another important mission for Alpha was to provide security for the Soviet leadership against enemy special forces in times of crisis or war.[3]

Later, territorial Alpha units were established across the Soviet Union. The date of the creation of an Alpha detachment in Ukraine is March 3, 1990. That's when the order was given to the chief of the 7th Directorate of the KGB to establish 10th group (Kiev) Group 'A' Services EIR 7th Directorate of the KGB. The selection process was rigorous. Of the initial 120 KGB candidates, only 15 passed the rigorous selection course to establish the first detachment under the leadership of commander Peter Feliksovich Zakrevskii.[4]

Post breakup of the USSR [ edit ]

The Kiev territorial unit of Group "A" was converted into Service "C" of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in 1992.[4] Nevertheless, it has continued to be informally called "Alpha", until June 23, 1994, when by the decree of the President of Ukraine on the basis of service "C" of the SBU was created Directorate "A" (Alpha). At this point in the SBU's groups "A" consists of 5 offices and regional offices based in each regional center of Ukraine.

2014 Ukrainian Crisis [ edit ]

In April 2014, in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, when Ukraine's Alpha snipers were alleged to shoot at the protesters,[5][6] it was purged and reorganised,[7] and soon used by the new government against the pro-Russian separatist forces in the War in Donbass. Late April 2014 three officers were captured by members of the Donbass People's Militia armed group led by Igor Strelkov in the town of Horlivka, after which they were beaten up and shown on Russian television;[8] the SBU spokeswoman said the separatists acted on a tip from infiltrators inside the agency.[9]

The SBU Alfa defector Alexander Khodakovsky, a former Alfa commander for Donetsk Oblast who has deserted from Ukrainian service along with several of his men following the revolution, became the commander of the rebel Vostok Battalion and later was given the post of security minister of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic.[10]

Overall, SBU reported that about 30% of its Alpha group members were unaccounted for and were likely fighting alongside Donetsk or Luhansk insurgent groups and in March 2014 the Alpha group only had about 200 active members still loyal to Ukraine.[11][12]

Operational record [ edit ]

From its inception in 1994 to 2010, members of the special unit carried out more than 7,000 operations, from weapons seizure to anti narcotics operations, to apprehension of organized gang members, with no casualties sustained.[13]

The unit suffered its first casualty in June 2014, fighting against Russian separatists and possibly, Russian special forces, in the Donbass conflict. As of 2018, ten SBU Alpha operators lost their lives in the conflict.[14]

See also [ edit ]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b David Cox (2001). Close Protection: The Politics of Guarding Russia's Rulers. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-275-96688-1. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  2. ^ "The Early Yeltsin Years". Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-01.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) by Jonathan Littell.
  3. ^ Hackard, Mark. "KGB Spetsnaz & World War III". Espionage History Archive. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
  4. ^ a b "Международная Ассоциация Ветеранов Подразделений Антитеррора "Альфа"". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  5. ^ Jamie Dettmer. "Exclusive: Photographs Expose Russian-Trained Killers in Kiev". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  6. ^ Golitsina, Natalya. "Photos Link Yanukovych's Troops To Maidan Massacre". Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  7. ^ "Separatystycznym batalionem Wostok dowodził były dowódca ukraińskiego specnazu" (in Polish). 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  8. ^ "Video: Ukrainian intelligence officers detained by pro-Russian separatists". Telegraph. 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2014-05-04.
  9. ^ Oksana Grytsenko (2014-04-28). "Separatists acted on a tip to capture SBU officers, Ukraine's security service says (VIDEO)". Retrieved 2014-05-04.
  10. ^ Rothkopf, David. "All Is Not Well in Novorossiya". Retrieved 2014-07-25.
  11. ^ "1/3 of Alpha group traitors". Informator. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  12. ^ "The President instructed the Head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration to relocate temporarily the administration office to Mariupol". Official Ukrainian Presidential site. 13 June 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-03-18. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  13. ^
  14. ^

External links [ edit ]

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