New report exposes 12 CIA bases in Ukraine: so much for national sovereignty!

A recent New York Times article, “based on more than 200 interviews, current and former officials in Ukraine, the United States and Europe” has laid bare some aspects of US imperialism’s intervention in Ukraine. It details a collaboration between the CIA and Ukrainian intelligence services stretching back to the aftermath of the 2013-4 Euromaidan movement, and continuing up to the present war, including the construction of 12 “forward operating bases constructed along the Russian border.”

The article goes into great detail about the close relationship between US and Ukrainian intelligence agencies, one that has proved critical in the current war:

“[T]he C.I.A… helped train a new generation of Ukrainian spies who operated inside Russia, across Europe, and in Cuba and other places where the Russians have a large presence.

“The relationship is so ingrained that C.I.A. officers remained at a remote location in western Ukraine when the Biden administration evacuated U.S. personnel in the weeks before Russia invaded in February 2022. During the invasion, the officers relayed critical intelligence, including where Russia was planning strikes and which weapons systems they would use.

“‘Without them, there would have been no way for us to resist the Russians, or to beat them,’ said Ivan Bakanov, who was then head of Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, the S.B.U.”

This report is yet another smoking gun that highlights Ukraine’s dependence on US imperialism, putting paid to any lingering illusions that this inter-imperialist proxy war is being fought for Ukraine’s independence.

The truth is that US imperialism provoked this needless conflict to serve its own interests, pulling strings behind the scenes, with Ukrainians shouldering the terrible toll of death and destruction.

Euromaidan exploited

SState flag of Ukraine carried by a protester to the heart of developing clashes in Kyiv, Ukraine. Events of February 18, 2014.US imperialism used the opportunity of the 2013-2014 Euromaidan movement to deepen its influence in Ukraine / Image: Mstyslav Chernov, Wikimedia Commons

US imperialism used the opportunity of the 2013-2014 Euromaidan movement to deepen its influence in Ukraine. It was instrumental in the outcome of the movement, which saw pro-Western oligarchs installed after the ousting of Yanukovich and his Russia-facing clique of oligarchs. This was clear at the time, with John McCain flying to Kiev to lend his support to the movement, and the State Department investing billions in ensuring its interests were met by the new regime.

What this new article reveals are the covert manoeuvres that saw Washington immediately turn Ukraine into a weapon in its fight with Russian imperialism. As authors Entous and Schwirtz write: “The C.I.A.’s partnership in Ukraine can be traced back to two phone calls on the night of Feb. 24, 2014.”

When the Yanukovich regime collapsed, the entire intelligence agency was gutted. The Maidan regime found all of its intelligence files smouldering and espionage equipment bound for Moscow. The Americans thus spied an opportunity to fill the void. On the night of 24 February, when the Ukrainian Rada voted to oust Yanukovich, the new regime contacted the local station chiefs of the CIA and MI6 to begin their new partnership. For the West, a golden opportunity to gain an advantage against Russia had opened up.

Ukraine’s usefulness to Washington

The primary motivation behind the Ukraine War from the point of view of the main imperialist players is not the direct exploitation of Ukraine’s resources, although this is a factor. For both Russia and the US, political and military considerations predominate. It is no coincidence that Putin swept into the Crimea the same year the Euromaidan movement took power, allowing Russia to keep its warm-water port in the Black Sea.

Nato main Image own workFor the US, Ukraine is a wedge right into the heart of Russia / Image: own work

For the US, Ukraine is a wedge right into the heart of Russia, its integration into NATO’s sphere of influence (short of actual membership, which the Americans do not think they can get away with) gave it a wide front against a rival, beyond the narrow Baltic front.

The report explains how the military intelligence unit of Ukraine, the HUR, conducts operations beyond Ukrainian territory. This is what the Americans valued most of all. After 2015, the CIA formed close links with the HUR and was immediately rewarded, as the latter “handed over to the C.I.A… secret documents about the Russian Navy.”

Since then, Ukraine has enabled the US to hack into the Russian military’s secure communications networks and has given the Americans intelligence on Russian operations around the globe. It is not hard to imagine how this contributed to Putin’s decision to invade.

More than a phantom threat

Throughout this conflict, western imperialism has more-or-less explained the invasion as a product of Putin’s madness and megalomania. They rubbished Russia’s claims that America was in the process of turning Ukraine into a sword held at Russia’s throat. The revelations in this article shatter these protestations of innocence.

As far back as 2016, the CIA had been constructing 12 forward operating bases along the Russian-Ukrainian border, “almost fully financed” by the American taxpayer. Imagine if it was revealed that the FSB, Russia’s security services, had been building 12 forward operating bases along the Mexican-American border! The outcry would be deafening.

Biden Zelensky Image Defense of UkraineThe Americans have always denied any presence on the ground in Ukraine / Image: Defense of Ukraine

In fact, we don’t have to imagine what America’s response would be. The presence of Soviet troops in Cuba and plans to place nuclear weapons there (with the consent of the Cuban government) provoked the Cuban Missile Crisis, which saw America bring the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation. The hypocrisy of the imperialists is by no means a new phenomenon.

The Americans have always denied any presence on the ground in Ukraine, claiming only to be giving the kind of assistance American imperialism lent to Britain during the first stage of the Second World War: providing weapons and money. Undoubtedly, Washington is keen to avoid an open confrontation between NATO and nuclear-armed Russia.

However, this new article reveals not only the extensive presence of the CIA in Ukraine, but just how vital they have been to the Ukrainian war effort. Within eight days of the Russian invasion, the CIA was able to give the Ukrainians the full Russian battle plan for the next two weeks.

In July 2022, the Russians were advancing towards a crossing point over the Dnipro River. The CIA was able to identify this advance, enabling the Ukrainians to destroy the column as it approached. Such examples help to explain why the Russian offensive was unable to overwhelm Ukraine’s military despite superior firepower.

As “a senior U.S. official” commenting on the role of US intelligence quite aptly puts it: “Are they pulling triggers? No. Are they helping with targeting? Absolutely.”

As we have said from the start: Russia is not really facing a Ukrainian army, but a NATO-equipped, led and funded army, in which Ukrainians are simply the ones tasked with fighting and dying.

These revelations have coincided with the deeply embarrassing leak of the German general in Singapore, who further confirmed the presence of Western military units in Ukraine. Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz let slip that the British “have several people on the ground” that help deliver and set up missile delivery systems. For all the grandiose claims that Ukraine is fighting a war for ‘democracy’ the Western imperialists have been making military decisions, with potentially devastating consequences, without any democratic oversight whatsoever.

In the same vein, no discussion has been had in the Bundestag on whether German troops should aid offensive operations. Yet the leaked conversation revealed that the German generals were “discussing how to strike the Kerch bridge” using German-made Taurus missiles. This is particularly alarming, given the ever-present threat of the war escalating.

Ukraine: small change for the imperialists

Lenin in 1920Lenin and the Bolsheviks showed the way to achieving a genuinely independent Ukraine / Image: public domain

The grim reality under capitalism is that small nations like Ukraine are so much small change in the games of the big powers. For all the pomp and propaganda about an alliance of ‘Western democracies’ lining up to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty against Russian imperialism, the reality is Ukraine merely exchanged one master for another in 2014, which then tried to use Ukraine as a political and military outpost against its powerful neighbour.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, NATO encroached further and further East (despite promises to the contrary at the time). With its economy in ruins after the fall of the USSR, Russia had no choice but to endure this humiliation for decades. This is no longer the case. Previously, it pushed back against Western encroachment in Georgia and repeatedly warned that Washington’s open and covert meddling in its backyard, and Ukraine’s pursuit of NATO membership, were red lines.

But the US refused to cede ground. After the humiliation of the Syrian Civil War (where the US was outmanoeuvred by Russia) and the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan, the US also wanted the opportunity to reassert its authority on the world stage and send a message to its rivals (Russia but particularly China) about who was boss.

Ultimately, US imperialism provoked a losing war that has cost Ukraine dearly in lives and territory. All of this went on over the heads of the Ukrainian people. So much for Ukraine’s self-determination!

The only way for Ukraine to achieve real, meaningful self-determination is to break the dead hand of imperialism, which means a fight against capitalism. Over a century ago, Lenin and the Bolsheviks showed the way to achieving a genuinely independent Ukraine. Only through a united struggle of all the toilers to wrest power from the imperialists, oligarchs and war profiteers on both sides of the conflict can meaningful national independence be achieved.

In other words, only the fight for international revolution, for communism, can lay the basis for an end to imperialist domination. This may seem a long way off in the context of Russia and Ukraine. But the same was true in the midst of the First World War, which ultimately gave way to a revolutionary wave.

Mighty explosions impend that will give this generation of communists the chance to consign imperialist war and national oppression to the dustbin of history.

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