12 secret CIA spy bases built in Ukraine before Russian invasion

For more than a decade, the US has used Ukraine in an intelligence gathering operation.

The United States has built up "12 secret locations" for the better part of the last decade to gather intelligence along the Russian border. These were apparently funded by the CIA. The Times notes that if the US does not provide additional funds for Ukraine's war effort, these intelligence gathering operations could be at risk.

According to a report from the New York Times, over the past eight years, the CIA has consrutcted a network of what the outlet called, "secret locations," along the Russian border with Ukraine to turn the country into an "intelligence-gathering hub" for the United States.

CIA director William Burns was recently in Ukraine to give assurances as to America's commitment to the region, in which they have been involved since prior to Russia's invastion of the Crimea in 2014. John Brennan, who was CIA director at the time, visited Ukraine as that conflict unfolded. He told officials "that the C.I.A. was interested in developing a relationship but only at a pace the agency was comfortable with, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials."

The outlet conducted over 200 interviews with officials in the United States, Ukraine, and Euorpe to disclose the information about the secret operation to the public for the first time. The Times reports that the CIA has given intelligence to Ukraine for "targeted missile strikes, track Russian troop movements and help support spy networks."

Yet this network of bases has been underway for over a decade. "It took root a decade ago," the Times reports, "coming together in fits and starts under three very different U.S. presidents, pushed forward by key individuals who often took daring risks. It has transformed Ukraine, whose intelligence agencies were long seen as thoroughly compromised by Russia, into one of Washington’s most important intelligence partners against the Kremlin today."

These include a listening post in the forest as well as 12 locations that are kept secret but are along the Russian border. The bases had been in use by Ukrainian officials and the intel they gathered would be passed on to the US. The CIA used their operations in Ukraine to train "an elite Ukrainian commando force," and then worked to "reverse-engineer" captured Russian technology. 

CIA operatives even remained in Ukraine when the Biden administration evacuated other officials. Those CIA agents continued to work with Ukraine to fend off Russian troops. These networks are still in place and are used to aid Ukraine in their war effort.

During the two-year-old Russia-Ukraine war, these hubs from the CIA have served as places to gather intelleigence for the United States on the status of the war and how to address it. The alliance was formed as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin being a common adversary. Putin reportedly interfered with several past elections in Ukraine and protests would be sparked from the interference in the elections.
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