CIA-backed 12 secret locations along the Russian border

    Ukraine, Kremlin

    The US “has nurtured a secret intelligence partnership” with Ukraine “for more than a decade”, and it “has transformed Ukraine” into “one of Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin”. In the past eight years, particularly, a CIA-backed “network of spy bases” has been created, and it includes “12 secret locations along the Russian border.” Moreover, in 2016 the Central Intelligence Agency even started training an elite Ukrainian commando force which captured Russian drones for the agency to reverse-engineer them. This is no “Russian propaganda”, but a recent New York Times story by Adam Entous, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and Michael Schwirtz.

    Maybe top Russian officials have known something about it for a while. One may recall how Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US of having played a major role in the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine – naming the CIA particularly. Well, considering the aforementioned NYT exposé, if one looks at the timeline, it would be difficult not to wonder how much involvement the American espionage agency had with Maidan or with the training and funding of the Azov battalion, the far-right militia turned National Guard regiment in Ukraine.

    This is precisely what Mark Episkopos, a Eurasia Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft reasons: “within days of the February 2014 Euromaidan Revolution that culminated with the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and ushered in a firmly pro-Western government, the newly appointed head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, reportedly proposed a ‘three-way partnership’ with the CIA and MI6, the UK’s foreign intelligence service.”

    He adds that a “graduate of one such CIA training program, then-Lt. Col. Kyrylo Budanov, went on to become the chief of Ukrainian military intelligence”, and that “Kyiv-CIA partnership deepened under the Trump administration.” Here, some context on the US agency is needed.

    Far from being a mere “spy agency”, with a focus on HUMINT (human intelligence), the CIA is actually known for years to also play a “central combat role”, having for instance organizing a “hidden war” in Afghanistan, “with secret paramilitary units on the ground”, according to a 2001 Washington Post story. Through its Special Activities Center, the division tasked with covert and paramilitary operations (carried out by the SOG – Special Operations Group), and with covert political action (conducted by the PAG – Political Action Group), plus other departments, the Agency coordinates training in torture to foreign groups, promotes false flag terrorist attacksassassinations of foreign leaders, “regime chances” (a code for coup d’état) and much more.

    In Greg Grandin’ words (a professor of history at Yale University), the CIA has, for the last decades, used terror to fortify “illiberal forces”, and “militarized societies”, particularly in Latin America. It has been described as being involved in drug trafficking by the likes of professor and diplomat Peter Dale Scott, historian Alfred McCoy, and journalists Gary Webb and Alexander Cockburn. It is no exaggeration at all to describe the CIA as one of most (if not the most) dangerous organizations on the planet today.

    It would make a lot of sense for the CIA to have helped orchestrate the ousting of Ukrainian President Yanukovych and set up a new regime in that country – because that is precisely what the CIA does.

    Referring to NATO expansion and the possibility of Ukraine becoming a NATO member, Putin once famously asked how would Washington react if China decided to sign a military pact with Mexico and established military bases near the border. Likewise, one could rhetorically ask: what if the Russian FSB mounted a network of spy bases alongside the US-Mexican border? Well, Washington has been doing precisely that, for years.

    The aforementioned expert Mark Episkopos wrote this week that “Moscow repeatedly warned — for many years before 2014 – that it was and remains prepared to take drastic action to prevent Ukraine from being used by the West as a forward operating base against Russia.” He adds: “Yet that, as recounted in lurid detail by The New York Times, is precisely what has happened over the past 10 years.” Thus, he argues, Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine (launched in 2022), whether one agrees with it or not, “is also not without its context, which includes a litany of grievances that,  however unjustified from the perspective of the West, constitute what the Kremlin saw as sufficient provocation.”

    Many people have written on the important topic of NATO enlargement, which is all about the militarization of Europe and the encirclement of Russia. It is about time to talk about CIA enlargement – which in turn is all about assassinations, clandestine and covert actions and paramilitary activity. The CIA role in the Ukrainian crisis is yet another thus far untold part of the story of post-Soviet Eastern Europe.


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