CIA Dave DeCamp Ukraine

Report: US Special Operations Forces Are on the Ground in Ukraine

The presence is part of a broad clandestine operation that includes the CIA.
Special Forces Soldiers from four NATO countries, observe targets on a firing range at the Grafenwoehr Training Area during a Judging Distance (JD) exercise July 24. Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

US special operations forces are on the ground in Ukraine as part of a broad covert operation that includes CIA personnel, The Intercept reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed US intelligence and military officials.

The report said that the US withdrew its CIA and special operations assets from Ukraine shortly before Russia’s invasion, although one US official said the CIA “never completely left.”

The CIA initially predicted that Kyiv would fall quickly to Russia, but after it became clear that wouldn’t happen, the Biden administration sent its covert assets back into Ukraine.

The report said that US clandestine operations inside Ukraine “are now far more extensive than they were early in the war, when US intelligence officials were fearful that Russia would steamroll over the Ukrainian army.”

Several current and former intelligence officials said that there “is a much larger presence of both CIA and US special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February.”

Back in June, The New York Times reported that there was a CIA presence in Ukraine, but it made no mention of US special operations forces. The Times report did say that several US allies have special operations troops in Ukraine, including Britain, France, Canada, and Lithuania.

The Intercept report said the covert operations inside Ukraine are being conducted under a covert presidential finding that indicates President Biden has quietly notified Congress of a “broad program of clandestine operations inside the country.” The report said that the finding President Biden is using is an altered version of a finding originally during the Obama administration.

It’s not clear what the US personnel are doing inside Ukraine or where exactly they are operating, but the presence risks provoking Russia. The covert operations contradict President Biden’s pledge not to send troops into Ukraine, which he said before Russia’s invasion could spark a “world war.”

Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

19 comments

  1. So now I am confused. Mr. Biden says we are not at war with Russia. But US and NATO special forces are on the ground along with CIA assets. Mr. Biden has sanctioned Russia to the max and blown up or assisted in the destruction of a Russian built pipeline, he has armed Ukraine and continues to send billions of dollars in offensive military hardware. Let me guess these nice soldiers and intelligence officers are there on holiday enjoying the sites and great food of Eastern Europe, it’s beautiful history and culture, with the encouragement of our fine and cultured president. Do I have this right? Biden and the clowns really are insane and we the public stand for this with a sycophant media cheering on and abetting the carnage dishonestly because it sells copy! How low have we sunk?

  2. We are on the eve of destruction.

    It’s what happens when a society goes insane and it’s leaders are psychopaths.

    1. As the late great Hunter S. Thompson wrote so many years ago: When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. I would substitute the word Insane for Weird. And here we all are. I give this country a couple more years at best before it all implodes into some unimaginable dystopia, and the rest of the world will follow especially considering the exponential climate catastrophe unfolding rapidly now. I never thought growing up (67 years old now) that I would be around to see the rapidly unfolding extinction of my species, to say nothing of the flora and fauna we are taking along with us. How special is that?!

  3. The assertions in the Intercept from unnamed sources cannot be proven. While they may be true, they also may not be, and without real evidence we will never know.

    1. karma head in sand? “no people are more entertained and less informed than americans”. Neil postman

    2. Michael K.: I heard that Ukraine came out with a postage stamp celebrating the demolition of the Kerch Bridge between Crimea and Russia (Krasnodar Krai) only one day after the event. Clairvoyance?

      1. Rapid printing technology.

        Get some fresh photos of the bridge if needed from a drone or drones that day, pick those you want. Edit in the stamp details and add any stock images (e.g. explosive fire) and/or special effects using P’shop, transmit (ftp, http) the file to the printer and order the print run for same-day delivery. Printer produces the stamps with dry-printing ink plus varnish and perforation, delivers the job, and Volodymir’s your uncle.

        (a former commercial artist)

  4. Out of the usual playbook.Has a Vietnam feel about it.
    Except in this case they are up against a Nuclear adversary who has warned them on a number of occasions as to the consequences of their actions.
    No doubt the Russian people now fully realise that this is an attack by the USA on their sovereignty.
    May God help us.

    1. “No doubt the Russian people now fully realise (sic) that this is an attack by the USA on their sovereignty.”

      An attack on Russian sovereignty? I guess you missed the part where Russia invaded Ukraine. Don’t get me wrong, I think Biden is a fool who is dragging us into WWIII and a nuclear holocaust, but let’s put the blame for starting this mess where it lies and not support Russian propaganda.

      1. It would behoove you perhaps to familiarize yourself with the history of this conflict well before Russia’s invasion. Go back to 2014 when the Donbass region and ethnic Russians were repeatedly and brutally shelled to the tune of 14k dead civilians. Russia has since warned the west for eight years—no Ukrainian NATO membership and the signing by all parties of the Minsk accords, which both western European nations, led by the US, understood was important for the region’s stability, but ignored. So let me ask you, since your small minded understanding of who the real “aggressors” are, needs a little analogy–what if Russia allowed Canada back in the day to join the Warsaw Pact? But it’s worse than that scenario because Ukraine especially despises Russia. It’s the lack of understanding of history and nuance that gets lost on people like you. Seeing Russia as the aggressor guarantees escalation and nuclear annihilation.
        Capiche?

    2. We have participated in 83 regime-change operations since 1945- that is, 83 that are known to the public now, due to whistleblowers, non-clandestine actions, etc. Iran in ’53 was pretty bad- they had a functional democracy beforehand, but we wanted that oil. So we fomented a synthetic / fake “Communist uprising” by bribing paramilitary and military groups, gangsters, mercenaries, etc. Didn’t work the first time around, and the British (MI-6) wanted to pull out. The Dulleses bros were on site, decided to specifically torture and murder the Iranian police and intel officers. 2nd time was a charm- we jailed the existing (democratically elected) leader, and installed the prior Shah (Eg Tsar / King), and he gave us 40% of their oilfields in return. Now imagine that perpetrated on 82 other countries.

      And then we had the balls to say that the Ukraine uprising wasn’t a CIA action? Or that it is somehow justified as long as it starts WWIII?A few months ago I saw Pelosi on TV, begging Biden to send in our air force to shoot down all their jets. That would *definitely* start a 3rd world war.
      The only benefit of that is most conservatives are horrified she and Biden will get what they want.. so I get to tell them “yeah thats how Vietnam felt to liberals. Unwise, immoral, and not having a valid goal. The domino theory dudb;t stand out after the Indonesian Commies were massacred. We went in out of spite and stupidity.

      I used to be a leftist. Now I don’t even know what I am. I feel like Ronald Reagan when he said “I didn’t leave my party. My party left me.” (When speaking of the Democrats. Reagan was a Democrat, and Hillary Clinton was a Republican. When they started out, I mean.) I still support libertarian socialism, but that is irrelevant compared to avoiding suicidal Hawkish idiocy. Although the Dulles Bros are dead and so is J “Edga” Hoover, their ideological successors run the USA, using the POTUS as a figurehead. This means the last *actual* POTUS in our country was JFK, and his last attempted action within the government was to try “scattering the CIA to the winds”.

      President Truman, who founded the CIA- pretty much admitted they killed JFK for being weak on Communism in a letter printed exactly 1 month after the killing. He suggested we get rid of them or severely downgrade their power. Nobody listened. Similarly, Eisenhower gave us a warning – his very last speech focused on that. You can find it here with a “may incite extremism” notice. More recenty McCain called the killing an ‘intervention.. I mean tragedy’.

      We should have listened to Einstein.

      1. I prefer capitalism over socialism myself, however, what you claim is certainly a well established perspective that holds merit. We keep repeating the mistakes of our past not because we do not know our history, but because our leaders are hungry for more more more. These people have forgotten what it’s like to sweat, bleed, and hurt for an honest days labor. They use our children to feed their war machine. They can go to hell. Hopefully if they start WWIII, they target the enclaves where these bastards live and operate and leave the rural areas alone. After the liberal cities are finished burning, we have crops to grow.

  5. to tha last Ukrainian….Russian mobilization may cause ukraine to be entirely occupied….many including Merkle perceive that Russia is serious and committed to denazify ukraine permanently….as EU descends into poverty and chaos Russia develops. Besides 1.1 million now another 300,000 troops mobilized and 70,000 Chechen volunteers ready to join 150,000 already in ukraine….the 700,000 ukie troops have lost nearly 25% of ukraine–the regions where 90% of economic activity exists…there will be no turning back

  6. Killing these people should be an ultra-high priority for the Russian military. Thes elite units are stuffed with white nationalists: having them die under the sunflowers is a wonderful twofer.

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