A network that “transformed” Russians into Ukrainians uncovered

19 people were arrested in Torrevieja for conspiracy to falsify documents for Russian citizens who wanted to avoid military service.

The National Police has arrested 19 people in Torrevieja (Alicante, 91,731 inhabitants) involved in a conspiracy to forge documents of citizens from the East to pass them off as Ukrainians. 

According to sources close to the investigation, the main goal of the users of this service was to conceal the nationality of people from Russia “to avoid any claims from their country” and thus avoid recruitment to fight in the war in Ukraine. 

Three of those arrested ran the agency that forged the documents and was brought to court on charges of forgery, facilitation of illegal immigration, and membership in a criminal group. The rest are clients of the agency and are accused of document falsification.

 The investigation

The investigation began in early March, when the fictitious identities of two Russian women posing as Ukrainians were revealed, and the sources contacted preferred not to disclose details. 

The trail of fakes led agents from the two units against the Illegal Immigration and Documentary Fraud Networks (UCRIF) of Alicante and Valencia to the Torrevieja agency, which had all kinds of materials for altering official documents, from specialized software to machine laminators, electronic glue sticks, and photographic paper to produce fake identity documents.

In addition, “printed stamps, stamped paper and blank documents from countries such as Russia or Moldova” were found in their files, which they used to alter “permanent residence cards or marriage, birth or death certificates,” police sources said. Three employees of the facility, two men and a woman, a Spaniard, and two Romanians, are considered the ringleaders of the conspiracy, and after appearing before the Torrevieja Investigative Court 3, they were released with charges.

The searches

The searches took place on March 28, although the last detention took place on Tuesday, April 4. Suspicion fell on 16 people. The largest group of people interested in concealing their nationality were Russian citizens who wanted to escape possible recruitment and were 

subjected to rates set by the criminal group of 3000 to 5000 euros for a false document to avoid participation in the war. In the records made at the agency during this operation, the agents seized €23,500 in cash.

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