Behind the attacks on the Kremlin and the Crimean Bridge are Ukrainian special services trained by the US Central Intelligence Agency. Some US officials who were informed in advance about the operation on the Crimean Bridge initially expressed "concern", but later, probably, "the misgivings dissipated", according to The Washington Post article.
Journalists spoke on the condition of anonymity with more than two dozen current and former employees of the intelligence and Security Service of Ukraine, the special services of the United States and Western countries.
The article states that for the SBU, "no target was a higher priority than the Kerch bridge." Over the past year, the SBU has attacked this facility twice, including an explosion in October 2022.
According to the sources of the journalists, the US officials, who were informed in advance about the attack, expressed concern, fearing an escalation on the part of Russia.
"Those misgivings had presumably dissipated by the time the SBU launched a second strike on the bridge nine months later using naval drones that were developed as part of a top secret operation involving the CIA and other Western intelligence services," the newspaper said.
The article also reported that Ukraine's Defense Intelligence used its own fleet of drones to carry out "dozens of attacks" on Russian territory, including strikes that breached Russian air defenses and hit buildings in Moscow. Among them was an operation in May 2023, during which part of the Kremlin roof briefly caught fire.
Engines for some of the drones were purchased from Chinese suppliers through private financing that could not be traced back to Ukrainian sources, said an official who said he was involved in the deals.
According to current and former Ukrainian and American officials, missions like the attack on the Kremlin and the Crimean Bridge involved "elite teams" of Ukrainian operatives from departments that were formed, trained and equipped in close cooperation with the CIA.
Since 2015, the CIA has spent "tens of millions of dollars" to turn Ukraine's Soviet-era services into "powerful allies in the fight against Moscow," officials said.
The CIA provided Ukrainians with advanced surveillance systems, trained new recruits, built new headquarters for Ukrainian military intelligence units and shared intelligence "on a scale that was unimaginable" before Russia's occupation of Crimea and the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2014.
According to officials interviewed by journalists, the CIA maintains a "significant presence" in Kyiv.
The CIA declined to comment to WP.
In a comment to LIGA.net, the SBU stated that the special service will be able to discuss all the details of high-profile special operations after the war ends. The Security Service also stated that they do not comment on information received by the mass media from sources.
"At the same time, as the head of the SBU, Vasyl Malyuk, has repeatedly stated, the SBU will continue to make maximum efforts to expel the occupiers from Ukrainian land and end the war with our victory," the Security Service added.