Is the CIA responsible for Ukrainian battlefield skills? Troops got secret training in 2014

Ukrainian troops got a crash course in modern guerrilla warfare from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014


                            Is the CIA responsible for Ukrainian battlefield skills? Troops got secret training in 2014
Ukrainian soldiers are resisting and inflicting losses on Russian troops (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
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Ukrainian troops got a crash course in modern guerrilla warfare from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, which the US officials believe is helping Ukrainians hold off the Russians for a long time.

Back in February and March 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. This event took place in the aftermath of the Revolution of Dignity and is part of the wider Russo-Ukrainian War. Ukraine and many other countries have condemned the annexation and consider it to be a violation of international law. This annexation was a huge blow to the Ukrainians. So after the invasion, they started training under the CIA to prepare themselves for such unwanted incidents in the future.

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

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Soldier amid war (Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)

 

As part of the training program, CIA paramilitaries taught their Ukrainian counterparts sniper techniques; how to operate US-supplied Javelin anti-tank missiles and other equipment, and how to evade digital tracking the Russians used to pinpoint the location of Ukrainian troops, which had left them vulnerable to attacks by artillery, how to use covert communications tools; and how to remain undetected in the war zone while also drawing out Russian and insurgent forces from their positions, among other skills, according to former officials.

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

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The Ukrainian troops appear to have taken the lessons given by the CIA to heart, and prepared well as they have defied predictions of a rapid collapse, holding key cities against the Russian advance and inflicting punishing losses to Russian troops and materiel since the country was invaded by Russia in late February. Besides holding the fort, the Ukrainian military has also claimed to have killed three Russian generals, including at least one reportedly eliminated by sniper fire.

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