In mid-June 2022, a shootout between FSB officers and two Russian contract soldiers took place in Kherson's “Eda. Topi” cafe on the bank of the Dnieper River. Two FSB officers and one military officer were killed. Multiple media outlets covered the incident, citing a report prepared by the Military Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The document listed the names of all but one of the participants in the shooting. The name of the fourth FSB officer who participated in the scuffle, and then escaped during the shootout, has been revealed by independent investigative outlet iStories.
The fourth officer involved in the incident was Yevgeny Tikhonov, son of the famous FSB Colonel Alexander Tikhonov. For almost 25 years – until September of this year – Tikhonov headed the FSB Special Operations Center, which was created based on the “Alfa” and “Vympel” special forces units. According to iStories, Yevgeny Tikhonov, who had served in the FSB directorate that supervised Russian manufacturing firms, went to Ukraine to earn money and, with his father's protection, get a position as deputy governor of the Mykolaiv region. However, he was thwarted first by the Ukrainian army, which prevented him from taking Mykolaiv, and then by the shootout in Kherson.
According to the report of the Investigative Committee, the shooting took place around 8 p.m. on June 19, 2022. Four servicemen of the FSB’s 9th Temporary Task Force – Igor Yakubinsky, Sergey Privalov, Dmitry Borodin, and Yevgeny Tikhonov – entered the cafe “Eda.Topi” on Ushakov Street and bumped into two contract soldiers, Sergeant Sergei Obukhov and Junior Sergeant Igor Sudin. According to the Investigative Committee, Sudin and Obukhov “were loitering and drinking alcohol.”
The FSB officers reprimanded the officers for drinking while in uniform and carrying weapons. “Everyone there was drunk. When an argument broke out, the soldiers began demanding to see their papers, and our guys said something along the lines of ‘who the hell are you people, go sleep it off.’ In the end, one of the contract soldiers grabbed his gun and started shooting at the floor, demanding to see his papers. He either thought [the FSB officers] were undercover Ukrainians, or he was just drunk,” an FSB officer familiar with the situation told iStories.
Obukhov fired the first shots at the restaurant floor. FSB officer Privalov then tried to take away his gun, and army officer Sudin opened fire on the FSB soldiers from an AK-47 automatic rifle – the latter began shooting back. As a result, three people died and two were seriously wounded. The local media in Obukhov's hometown in Russia’s Ivanovo region reported that he “saved his comrades from being surrounded.” The Investigative Committee found Sudin to be the key suspect in the shooting.
Tikhonov escaped during the firefight – his fellow soldiers are currently blaming him for leaving behind his comrades. “He later said that he actually ran for help, but who would believe that now,” says the iStories source.