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Ukrainians got secret CIA training after Russia’s Crimea invasion in 2014: report

Ukrainian troops got a crash course in modern guerrilla warfare from the Central Intelligence Agency following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea — training that US officials believe is helping Ukraine hold off the Kremlin now.

CIA paramilitary officers with the Special Activities Division began secretly training Ukrainian forces in sniping, anti-tank warfare and surveillance evasion shortly after the 2014 incursion, Yahoo News reported Wednesday.

Half a dozen former intelligence officials told the outlet that they see hallmarks of their training in the ongoing Ukrainian resistance.

“I think we’re seeing a big impact from snipers,” one former intelligence official told Yahoo. “Especially as Russian forces get bogged down from lack of supplies, I think the training really paid off.”

“We tried to really focus on operational planning, then really hard military skills like long-range marksmanship,” another former CIA official said. “Not just the capacity to do it, but to know how to do it on a battlefield, to really deplete the leadership on the other side.”

The Ukrainians appear to have taken the lessons to heart, claiming to have killed four high-ranking Russian generals on the battlefield in three weeks of fighting.


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.


The CIA also trained Ukrainians to evade Russian electronic surveillance, which was making them sitting ducks for artillery fire in the trenches of the Donbas region.

A former CIA official said the training focused on operational planning and “really hard military skills like long-range marksmanship” on the battlefield.
Viktor Drachev/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian police and National Guard servicemen take part in exercises near the Kalanchak village in the Skadovsk district of Kherson area, South Ukraine.
The CIA also trained Ukrainians to evade Russian electronic surveillance.
EPA/OLEG PETRASYUK
Ukranian servicemen walk on a makshift pathway to cross a river next to a destroyed bridge near the city of Irpin.
Former intelligence officials said they see hallmarks of their training in the ongoing Ukrainian resistance, according to a report.
AFP via Getty Images
The latest on the war in Ukraine as of March 16, 2022.
The latest on the war in Ukraine as of March 16, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers “were using mobile phones in a trench,” one former intelligence official told Yahoo. “People were getting blown to bits.”

CIA agents had to develop secure systems so the Ukrainians could communicate, then move before “[the Russians] start[ed] rocketing the crap out of you,” the former official said.

The paramilitaries were pulled out of Ukraine last month as tensions with Russia grew, another former official said, noting there were no agency paramilitaries on the ground when Russia invaded at the end of February.

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