A recent high-profile report from The Washington Post (WP) refers to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) allegedly orchestrating a Moscow bombing, which inadvertently killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of pro-invasion hardliner Alexander Dugin. This is just one of a number of complex operations set out in revelatory form by the report’s authors.
After anonymously interviewing over 20 former and current intelligence officers from Ukraine, the US and Western nations, the WP has concluded that, since 2014, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been revamping and preparing the SBU and the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR) for complex missions.
Other points noted in the WP report include that:
- The CIA has invested tens of millions of dollars upgrading Ukraine's outdated intelligence agencies since 2014, including introducing new surveillance systems, retraining operatives near Kyiv, and financing the construction of new headquarters when the former premises were considered compromised;
- The CIA maintains a significant presence in Kyiv;
- To prevent Russian infiltration of Ukrainian intelligence, the CIA established a new, fifth directorate within the SBU – and later a sixth, for collaboration with British intelligence agency MI6;
- The SBU then began eliminating pro-Russian separatist leaders, allegedly those responsible for the deaths of Yevgeny Zhilin in Moscow in 2016 and Mikhail Tolstykh (Givi) in Donetsk;
- Reforming the HUR was relatively easy, given its comparatively small size and a younger workforce with no Soviet service experience;
- The CIA provided tracking systems and hacking software to the HUR for use in eastern Ukraine, along with creating a network of sources within Russian special services;
According to the report, US intelligence officials emphasized that the CIA's primary role is intelligence gathering and denied involvement in assassinations.
“Ukraine’s affinity for lethal operations has complicated its collaboration with the CIA, raising concerns about agency complicity and creating unease among some officials in Kyiv and Washington,” WP writes, citing sources.
Both sides claim that the CIA has not been directly involved in covert Ukrainian operations, and that US equipment and financial resources have been kept separate.
“We have too many enemies who are more important to neutralize,” a high-ranking Ukraine security official quoted as saying by WP. “People who launch missiles… people who committed atrocities in Bucha.” Killing the daughter of a pro-war firebrand is “very cynical.”
A former senior CIA official likened Ukraine's intelligence services to the early days of the Mossad in the 1970s.
“We are seeing the birth of a set of intelligence services that are like Mossad in the 1970s,” a former senior CIA official quoted as saying by WP. “Ukraine’s proficiency at such operations has risks for Russia, but it carries broader risks as well.”
HUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov, in an exclusive comment to Kyiv Post, has confirmed that Ukraine's Intel has ties with a lot of foreign Intelligence services, but that certain specific details regarding cooperation cannot be disclosed for obvious reasons.
“During the active phase of the war, discussing such issues would mean jeopardizing both the fact of cooperation and the conduct of a number of operations,” Yusov said.
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