Ukraine, Intelligence and Security

Ukraine, Intelligence and Security

Much of Ukraine's intelligence and special operations structure bears the imprint of the nation's Soviet past. Both the Security Service of Ukraine (Sluzhba Bespeky Ukrayiny; SBU) and its principal action unit are based on Soviet models. Internationally, the Ukraine has come under suspicion as a supplier of materials to rogue states and groups.

Founded in 1991, the SBU took over the old KGB Ukrainian headquarters in the capital city of Kiev. It also took on the organization structure, in many cases the tactics, and even many of the personnel of its Soviet predecessor. Like KGB, it oversees both security and intelligence operations, and through its subunit GUR, fights organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. Another important SBU subunit is the action group Administration A, the "Alpha" unit. Named and modeled after the Soviet Alpha unit that attacked the presidential palace in Kabul in 1979, setting off the Soviet-Afghan war, it has counterterrorism and witness protection responsibilities.

Despite its stated opposition to terrorism, Ukraine has been accused to supplying materiel to terrorist states and groups. Not only did it supply two helicopters to Slobodan Milosevic's Serbia in 1999, but in 2002, it was under investigation by United States and British arms experts on allegations that it had sold sophisticated Kolchuga radar systems to Iraq. Ukraine has also been accused, along with Russia and the regime of President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus, of selling weapons to rebel armies in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Western intelligence sources also reported that representatives of Afghanistan's Taliban regime and the Muslim terrorist network al-Qaeda visited Kiev in September 1999, looking to purchase arms, parts, and training.



Anderson, Robert. "The Former Soviet Republics Are Accused of Supplying Weapons to Rogue States in Defiance of United Nation or U.S. Embargoes." Financial Times (October 21, 2002): 27.

Bennett, Richard M. Espionage: An Encyclopedia of Spies and Secrets. London: Virgin Books, 2002.

Kuzio, Taras. "Details Emerge on Kiev's 'Alpha' Unit." Jane's Intelligence Review 11, no. 10 (October 1, 1999): 1.

Warner, Tom. "U.S. Plans to Shun Ukraine President over Radar." Financial Times (November 9, 2002): 10.


Ukraine Intelligence. Federation of American Scientists. < > (March 1, 2003).


KGB ( Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti , USSR Committee of State Security)
Russia, Intelligence and Security

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