The New York Times published an investigative report on Sunday quoting anonymous sources from among the intelligence communities in the US, Europe and Ukraine who say that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has helped Ukraine to establish 12 secret spy bases throughout the country.

According to the report, the CIA and other US intelligence services track the movements of Russian troops, gather intelligence for missile strikes, and maintain spy networks with the help of these bases.

For almost 10 years the US has been helping Kyiv to train a “new generation of Ukrainian spies” who are operating globally against Russia.

Thanks to this network of bases, Kyiv has become one of Washington’s most important intelligence partners. It has proved so successful that prior to the war they were producing more intelligence than US intelligence staff in Ukraine were able to process and today are intercepting more Russian communications than the CIA’s own base in Russia, the NYT notes.

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The network of CIA bases in Ukraine began to be established eight years ago. The news site says they were assembled “piece by piece” under US presidents Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

At first, US intelligence was reluctant to work with Kyiv because it feared that many former Soviet Ukrainian intelligence officials might be compromised and would pass information to Russia or that the CIA interaction with them might provoke Moscow.

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Special operations forces pointed out that the Russian Buk-M1 did not have time to fire a single missile - it was destroyed by the missile and artillery unit of the Defense Forces of Ukraine.

However, that all changed in 2015, when Gen. Valery Kondratyuk, who was then head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR), handed over a stack of top-secret files to the CIA representative in the US embassy without warning. After this, the NYT wrote, Ukrainian intelligence regularly provided Americans with classified information to “create conditions of trust.”

The NYT claims that the Ukrainians proved themselves to the Americans by collecting intercepted data that helped prove Russian involvement in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner in 2014. Ukrainians also helped Americans prosecute the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

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It was because of this newfound trust that the CIA began training an elite Ukrainian special forces unit known as Unit 2245, which captured Russian drones and communications equipment so that CIA technicians could reverse-engineer them and crack Moscow’s encryption systems. One of the officers in this unit was the current HUR chief Kyrylo Budanov.

As a result of the spy bases, the US embassy in Kyiv “became the best source of information, signals and everything else about Russia,” a former senior US official told the NYT.

According to the NYT, in the run-up to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, one of the heads of Russian intelligence services reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the CIA and MI6 control Kyiv and were turning the neighboring country “into a beachhead for operations against Moscow.”

Putin has frequently asserted that the overthrow of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 was achieved with the support of the CIA.

But the NYT investigation dispelled that version, pointing rather to how “Putin and his advisers misread a critical dynamic.” According to the newspaper: “The CIA didn’t push its way into Ukraine. US officials were often reluctant to fully engage, fearing that Ukrainian officials could not be trusted, and worrying about provoking the Kremlin.”

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