NYT: CIA Built 12 Secret Spy Bases In Ukraine, Waged Shadow War Against Russian Since 2014

Fact checked
Ukraine and CIA

The US has been using Ukraine in an intelligence gathering operation for the last decade.

A report published on Sunday by The New York Times  admits that US intelligence has not only been instrumental in Ukraine’s wartime decision-making, but has established and financed high tech command-and-control spy centers, and was doing so long before the Russian invasion of February 2022.

The program was established ten years ago ago and spans the terms of three different American presidents.

The Times also noted that if the US did not provide additional funding for Ukraine’s war effort, these intelligence gathering operations could be at risk.

The NYT said that the CIA program to modernize Ukraine’s intelligence services has “transformed” the former Soviet state and its capabilities into “Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today.”

Zero Hedge reports: This has included the agency having secretly trained and equipped Ukrainian intelligence officers spanning back to just after the 2014 Maidan coup events, as well constructing a network of 12 secret bases along the Russian borderwork which began eight years ago. These intelligence bases, from which Russian commanders’ communications can be swept up and Russian spy satellites monitored, are being used launch and track cross-border drone and missile attacks on Russian territory

This means that with the disclosure of the longtime “closely guarded secret” the world just got a big step closer to WW3, given it means the CIA is largely responsible for the effectiveness of the recent spate of attacks which have included direct drone hits on key oil refineries and energy infrastructure. 

“Without them [the CIA and elite commandoes it’s trained], there would have been no way for us to resist the Russians, or to beat them,” according to Ivan Bakanov, former head of the SBU, which is Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency.

A main source of the NYT revelationsdisclosures which might come as no surprise to those never willing to so easily swallow the mainstream ‘official’ narrative of eventsis identified as a top intelligence commander named Gen. Serhii Dvoretskiy.

Clearly, Kiev and Washington now want world to know of the deep intelligence relationship they tried to conceal for over the past decade. It is perhaps a kind of warning to Moscow at a moment Ukraine’s forces are in retreat: the US is fighting hand in glove with the Ukrainians. And yet the revelations contained in the NY Times report also confirm what President Putin has precisely accused Washington of all along.

While the lengthy NYT report is full of fresh revelations and confirmation of just how deeply the CIA has always been involved in Ukraine, below are seven of the biggest contained in the story

Description of secret spy bunker

The report contains a surprisingly detailed description of one of the ‘secret’ underground command centers established by the CIA near the Russian border… location undisclosed of course:

Not far away, a discreet passageway descends to a subterranean bunker where teams of Ukrainian soldiers track Russian spy satellites and eavesdrop on conversations between Russian commanders. On one screen, a red line followed the route of an explosive drone threading through Russian air defenses from a point in central Ukraine to a target in the Russian city of Rostov.

The underground bunker, built to replace the destroyed command center in the months after Russia’s invasion, is a secret nerve center of Ukraine’s military.

There is also one more secret: The base is almost fully financed, and partly equipped, by the CIA.

Elite commando force

Within two years after the 2014 West-backed coup in Ukraine, the CIA had set up a training program for elite Ukrainian operatives:

Around 2016, the CIA began training an elite Ukrainian commando force — known as Unit 2245 — which captured Russian drones and communications gear so that CIA technicians could reverse-engineer them and crack Moscow’s encryption systems. (One officer in the unit was Kyrylo Budanov, now the general leading Ukraine’s military intelligence.)

And the CIA also helped train a new generation of Ukrainian spies who operated inside Russia, across Europe, and in Cuba and other places where the Russians have a large presence.

Ukraine transformed into an “intelligence-gathering hub”

The US intelligence network in Ukraine (which is tantamount to NATO intelligence network too) has in reality been more extensive than pretty much all prior media speculation has envisioned. Ukraine has long been a massive “intelligence gathering hub” for Washington and its partners:

In more than 200 interviews, current and former officials in Ukraine, the United States and Europe described a partnership that nearly foundered from mutual distrust before it steadily expanded, turning Ukraine into an intelligence-gathering hub that intercepted more Russian communications than the CIA station in Kyiv, Ukraine, could initially handle. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence and matters of sensitive diplomacy.

Now these intelligence networks are more important than ever, as Russia is on the offensive and Ukraine is more dependent on sabotage and long-range missile strikes that require spies far behind enemy lines. And they are increasingly at risk: If Republicans in Congress end military funding to Kyiv, the CIA may have to scale back.

Huge NYT admission that Putin was basically right

Below is a hugely ironic excerpt from the Times report. The section begins by noting that Putin has repeatedly blamed the US-NATO for expanding its military and intelligence infrastructure into Ukraine. Not only had this precisely been going on for the past decade, as is now being admitted, but was presented by the Kremlin as a key cause of the Russian invasion of Feb.24, 2022. Putin and his officials were adamant on the eve of the invasion that NATO was militarizing Ukraine. The Times appears to now fully admit that, yes – this was actually the case: 

Putin has long blamed Western intelligence agencies for manipulating Kyiv and sowing anti-Russia sentiment in Ukraine.

Toward the end of 2021, according to a senior European official, Putin was weighing whether to launch his full-scale invasion when he met with the head of one of Russia’s main spy services, who told him that the CIA, together with Britain’s MI6, were controlling Ukraine and turning it into a beachhead for operations against Moscow.

…U.S. officials were often reluctant to fully engage, fearing that Ukrainian officials could not be trusted, and worrying about provoking the Kremlin.Yet a tight circle of Ukrainian intelligence officials assiduously courted the CIA and gradually made themselves vital to the Americans. In 2015, Gen. Valeriy Kondratiuk, then Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, arrived at a meeting with the CIA’s deputy station chief and without warning handed over a stack of top-secret files.


2014 Coup… and Crimea

The report indirectly references this very critical period which set Ukraine and Russian on their tragic collision course: 

With violence escalating, an unmarked U.S. government plane touched down at an airport in Kyiv carrying John Brennan, then the director of the CIA. He told Nalyvaichenko that the CIA was interested in developing a relationship but only at a pace the agency was comfortable with, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials.

To the CIA, the unknown question was how long Nalyvaichenko and the pro-Western government would be around. The CIA had been burned before in Ukraine.

…The result was a delicate balancing act. The CIA was supposed to strengthen Ukraine’s intelligence agencies without provoking the Russians. The red lines were never precisely clear, which created a persistent tension in the partnership.

Operation Goldfish

Money and advanced tech given by the CIA has allowed the Ukrainians to establish eavesdropping operations far beyond what they would otherwise be capable of. All the while, elite commando teams were being trained by the CIA in European cities as part of a program called ‘Operation Goldfish’. The NYT reporting includes a bit of a ‘boast’ of the Ukrainians now being able to hack into Russian military networks: 

In the bunker, Dvoretskiy pointed to communications equipment and large computer servers, some of which were financed by the CIA. He said his teams were using the base to hack into the Russian military’s secure communications networks.

“This is the thing that breaks into satellites and decodes secret conversations,” Dvoretskiy told a Times journalist on a tour, adding that they were hacking into spy satellites from China and Belarus, too.

…The CIA began sending equipment in 2016, after the pivotal meeting at Scattergood, Dvoretskiy said, providing encrypted radios and devices for intercepting secret enemy communications.

A stunning admission: “Tiptoeing Around Trump”

Among the most interesting and curious moments of the NYT report is a description of the CIA program’s expanse under the Trump administration. The report suggests that the true scope may have even been hidden from Trump. The Russian hawks in his administration quietly did the ‘dirty work’, we are told: 

The election of Trump in November 2016 put the Ukrainians and their CIA partners on edge.

Trump praised Putin and dismissed Russia’s role in election interference. He was suspicious of Ukraine and later tried to pressure its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to investigate his Democratic rival, Biden, resulting in Trump’s first impeachment.