The Shadow War and the CIA in Ukraine

Very interesting NY Times article about what happened in Ukraine post-Maidan, how they desperately wanted (and got) CIA support, how they purged Russian spies from their ranks, their valuable intelligence collection on Russia, and the shadow war between Ukraine and Russia in the wake of the Maidan Uprising, the separatist fighting, the taking of Crimea, and the leadup to the invasion.

Lots of great tidbits like these and more:

Around 2016, the C.I.A. began training an elite Ukrainian commando force — known as Unit 2245 — which captured Russian drones and communications gear

In 2015, Gen. Valeriy Kondratiuk, then Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, arrived at a meeting with the C.I.A.’s deputy station chief and without warning handed over a stack of top-secret files.

“We understood that we needed to create the conditions of trust,” General Kondratiuk said.

they created a new paramilitary unit that was deployed behind enemy lines to conduct operations and gather intelligence that the C.I.A. or MI6 would not provide to them.

Known as the Fifth Directorate, this unit would be filled with officers born after Ukraine gained independence.

“They had no connection with Russia,” General Kondratiuk said. “They didn’t even know what the Soviet Union was.”

“For a Russian, allowing oneself to be recruited by an American is to commit the absolute, ultimate in treachery and treason,” General Kondratiuk said. “But for a Russian to be recruited by a Ukrainian, it’s just friends talking over a beer.”

But whatever Mr. Trump said and did, his administration often went in the other direction. This is because Mr. Trump had put Russia hawks in key positions, including Mike Pompeo as C.I.A. director and John Bolton as national security adviser. They visited Kyiv to underline their full support for the secret partnership, which expanded to include more specialized training programs and the building of additional secret bases.

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