Another data point for how deep a hole Ukraine finds itself in: it does not have a spy agency it—or its allies—can trust. The Wall Street Journal has a solid write-up detailing the recent history of the country’s security service:
The agency, roughly equivalent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and known by its Ukrainian acronym SBU, has battled corruption, internal intrigue and treason for years. Ukrainian officials said in interviews that by the time the war began last year, the SBU was riddled with Russian spies, sympathizers and turncoats, and many of its files had been stolen and taken to Russia. […]The U.S. is careful about sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians, in part out of concern that it could fall into Russian hands, American officials say. U.S. spy-satellite images, for example, are degraded before they are shared.Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, current head of the SBU, said in an interview that when he took over the agency last year, days after Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin regime fell, he faced a gutted institution. “We entered this empty building. All the deputies had disappeared,” he said recently at SBU headquarters in downtown Kiev. “Nobody was home.”
Read the whole thing.It’s yet another factor Western leaders have to keep in mind as they struggle to “do something”, especially militarily, in Ukraine. The reality is that Russia continues to have a strong spoiler hand in determining just how things go in that country.