Using Ukraine Since 1948

The U.S. has staged operations with extremists from Ukraine to undermine Russia for nearly 8 decades. It’s led us to the doorstep of nuclear annihilation.

Clashes in Kiev during Feb. 2014 coup. (Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe/

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The United States has for nearly 80 years seen Ukraine as the staging ground for its once covert and increasingly overt war with Russia. 

After years of warnings, and after talk since 2008 of Ukraine joining NATO, Russia fought back two years ago. With neither side backing down, Ukraine is increasingly becoming a flashpoint that could lead to nuclear war. 

The West thinks Russia is bluffing.

But its doctrine states that if Russia feels its existence is threatened it could resort to nuclear arms. Instead of taking these warnings seriously, NATO is recklessly opening corridors for a ground war against Russia in Ukraine; France says it’s putting together a coalition of nations to enter the war, despite Russia saying French or any other NATO force would be fair game. 

Unless you read Consortium News and a few other alternative outlets, you won’t get this perspective. You will  think Russia is an out of control aggressor bent on destroying the world.  So …

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In Paris the other day Joe Biden said Russia wants to conquer all of Europe but can’t even take Khariv. It is this kind of inflammatory nonsense, combined with allowing Ukraine to fire NATO weapons into Russian territory, that is imperiling us all. 

The danger started building up many years ago but it is now reaching a climax. 

The U.S. relationship with Ukraine, and its extremists, to undermine Russia began after the Second World War. During the war, units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) took part in the Holocaust, killing at least 100,000 Jews and Poles. 

Mykola Lebed, a top aide to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the fascist OUN-B, was recruited by the C.I.A. after the war, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. National Archives. 

Lebed was the “foreign minister” of a Banderite government in exile, but he later broke with Bandera for acting as a dictator. The U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps termed Bandera “extremely dangerous” yet said he was “looked upon as the spiritual and national hero of all Ukrainians….”

C.I.A.’s Allen Dulles asks U.S. Immigration to allow Lebed re-entry to U.S. despite murder conviction. (From Hitler’s Shadow. Click to enlarge.)

Instead of Bandera, the C.I.A. was interested in Lebed, despite his fascist background. They set him up in an office in New York City from which he directed sabotage and propaganda operations on the agency’s behalf inside Ukraine against the Soviet Union. 

The U.S. government study says:

“CIA operations with these Ukrainians began in 1948 under the cryptonym CARTEL, soon changed to AERODYNAMIC. …

Lebed relocated to New York and acquired permanent resident status, then U.S. citizenship. It kept him safe from assassination, allowed him to speak to Ukrainian émigré groups, and permitted him to return to the United States after operational trips to Europe.

Once in the United States, Lebed was the CIA’s chief contact for AERODYNAMIC. CIA handlers pointed to his ‘cunning character,’ his ‘relations with the Gestapo and … Gestapo training,’ [and] the fact that he was ‘a very ruthless operator.’”

The C.I.A. worked with Lebed on sabotage and pro-Ukrainian nationalist propaganda operations inside Ukraine until Ukraine’s independence in 1991.

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“Mykola Lebed’s relationship with the CIA lasted the entire length of the Cold War,” the study says. “While most CIA operations involving wartime perpetrators backfired, Lebed’s operations augmented the fundamental instability of the Soviet Union.” 

Continued Until and Beyond Ukrainian Independence

Bandera monument in Lvov. (

The U.S. thus covertly kept Ukrainian fascist ideas alive inside Ukraine until at least Ukrainian independence was achieved.

Mykola Lebed, Bandera’s wartime chief in Ukraine, died in 1998.

He is buried in New Jersey, and his papers are located at the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, the U.S. National Archives study says.  

The successor organization to the OUN-B in the United States did not die with him, however.  It had been renamed the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), according to IBT.

“By the mid-1980s, the Reagan administration was honeycombed with UCCA members. Reagan personally welcomed [Yaroslav] Stetsko, the Banderist leader who oversaw the massacre of 7,000 Jews in Lviv, in the White House in 1983,” IBT reported.  Following the demise of [Viktor] Yanukovich’s regime [in 2014], the UCCA helped organise rallies in cities across the US in support of the EuroMaidan protests,” it reported.

That is a direct link between the U.S.-backed 2014 Maidan coup against a democratically-elected Ukrainian government and WWII-era Ukrainian fascism. 

[See: Ukraine Timeline Tells the Story

Since 2014, the U.S. pushed for an attack on the Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine who had rejected the coup, and NATO began training and equipping Ukrainian troops.  Combined with talk since 2008 of Ukraine joining NATO, Russia reacted after years of warning. 

More than two years after Russia’s intervention, with Ukraine clearly losing the war, Western leaders will do just about anything to save their political skins, as they’ve staked too much on winning in Ukraine.   Don’t listen to them.  They need a West in denial of the dangers facing us.

As President John F. Kennedy said in his 1963 American University speech:

“Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy–or of a collective death-wish for the world.”

The world may wake up when it’s too late — after nuclear missiles have already started flying.   

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Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange.

19 comments for “Using Ukraine Since 1948

  1. Sam F
    June 12, 2024 at 15:56

    Thanks to Joe Lauria for this essential background!

  2. susan
    June 12, 2024 at 12:02

    I know, as punishment for Hunter Biden, let’s send him to the frontlines in Ukraine!

  3. Francis (Frank) Lee
    June 12, 2024 at 04:55

    I forgot to add Roman Shukeyvch who was commander-in-chief of the UPA the (Ukrianian Insurgent Army) along with Bandera and the (OUN-B)

  4. CaseyG
    June 11, 2024 at 13:21

    CIA—-well I think after reading a lot of this that,” CIA,” truly does stand for Criminally Insane Assholes.

  5. Joseph Tracy
    June 11, 2024 at 10:02

    Bandera, as there is some indication, had an appeal to crowds but was so obnoxiously domineering that no other leaders wanted to work with him for long. He wanted to kill people more than build a nationalist movement. Stetsko, who is briefly mentioned and Lebed became the key leaders and connected to post war CIA anti-communist and anti- Russian policies designed to create controllable authoritarian states in Europe, as has been most thoroughly exposed in operation Gladio focused on Italy, and extensively using false flag operations.
    Along with recruiting and financing fascists at the end of the war, particularly intelligence officers and organizational leaders; a huge effort was expended to create the widely believed myth that the US was the key to the defeat of fascism rather than acknowledge the historic reality that, by far, the greatest part of the German army was defeated by Russia. Most Americans still believe this falsification of history. The murderous internal criminality of Stalin must not be forgotten, but neither should the suffering and heroism of the Russian army in WW2.

    • BigOboe
      June 12, 2024 at 18:55

      Soviet Army, Joseph. Soviet. And however savage or heroic they were, it is beyond debate that the brunt of defeating the fascists fell on them. Churchill tried to strong arm Stalin into backing off with threats of withholding arms and aide. Stalin wasn’t having it, as he knew they would be victorious with or without the West.

  6. susan mullen
    June 11, 2024 at 00:58

    War is US elites’ only business. They have no other reason to exist. It gives them an excuse for impoverishing and enslaving US taxpayers. They think “their blood, our bullets,” is perfectly fine. Why can’t US be neutral? Why can’t US pass Neutrality Acts like were attempted in 1930s? Someone has to stop the US.

  7. Nick
    June 10, 2024 at 18:25

    Love the paraphrase of Orwell at the end Joe (last line of Homage to Catalonia, if indeed, it wasn’t an homage itself). Thank you for writing articles like these.

  8. June 10, 2024 at 17:40

    Thank You Joe

  9. Carolyn/Cookie out west
    June 10, 2024 at 16:57

    Thank you Joe Lauria for this important history of Ukraine. So sad that our MSM is obsessed with Russia phobia. If only somehow you could have a wider audience. There are some (very few) American politicians who are opposed to this proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. Please send your article to them and any so-called progressive people, plus antiwar conservatives too.

    • Robert
      June 11, 2024 at 10:26

      Yes, thanks for this article. I did not know that CIA history with the Banderites went back so far, and was so extensive. But it all rings true. It seems to have reached a point where every newly elected politician coming into D.C. is immediately indoctrinated into a “Russia is our enemy” mode. It’s madness, but it exists. The most recent example is new Speaker of the House Johnson’s remarkable 180° turn on giving Zelensky $61 billion dollars of cash and weapons. It apparently took less than 2 days of “discussion” with the CIA . Johnson went from zero to $61 billion in that 48 hours. Just as worrisome is that Johnson felt compelled to warn Americans that Ukraine HAD to have the money or Russia would most certainly be sending tanks into Poland and all the Baltics. Crazy talk, but too many Americans are buying into it.

  10. Em
    June 10, 2024 at 16:54

    Is it any wonder then that the clandestine regime which owns and operates corporation America is so fearful of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth being made public.
    Julian Assange is the journalist who came closest to revealing the long-running con of the utterly mislead; first and foremost, the American populace.
    The ghostly aura of Scott Ritter emanates strongly on the page relating to the content of the article.

  11. bardamu
    June 10, 2024 at 16:02

    A concept that gets missed is that when an agency infiltrates an organization, the organization also infiltrates that agency, though the effects are not often equal. The matter might play out in many ways, but there is no variety in the fact of its happening.

    Since before the CIA, imperial infiltrations have shared as a central factor organized crime and its catering to vice and to sorrow.

    Since its official inception, the CIA has wedded fascists and organized crime. Such has been the nature of the business in and outside of that organization, from England’s war to keep the opium trade open in China down to Epstein’s island and whoever has taken the business over after his death.

    These come into being automatically when you open an agency that will work undercover, that has neither public nor judicial review. These are fueled by economic inequality, which might even be taken as some rough public measure of their prevalence.

  12. Papi Phonic
    June 10, 2024 at 15:16

    The people who are trying to kill us are many things, but they are not stupid. They have meetings every day to discuss what they will do next. If ‘next’ is to kill us, the system is not working. Repeating this truth amongst ourselves over and over again is not a solution. As noted, we have been doing this for decades. So, what are we going to do next?

  13. susan
    June 10, 2024 at 15:02

    What good would all out war be? No one would survive! Marcon, what a nincompoop! Biden has one foot in the grave so he doesn’t care, he’d rather go out with a BANG! The CIA should be disbanded – they’re not good for anything except murder and war…

    Criminy, where do these morons come from?!

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    June 10, 2024 at 12:15

    How can anyone be so gd STUPID!!!

  15. Martin
    June 10, 2024 at 11:23

    it is no use to try to deter the general public in europe or the us. russia should leak the list of decision makers and their hide-outs across the globe to the cia.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      June 10, 2024 at 13:40

      The CIA is the chief plotter against Russia!

  16. Francis (Frank) Lee
    June 10, 2024 at 10:56

    Bandera’s buddy was with his own unit until and the Ukrainians were also the (Ukrianian Insurgent Army) UPA who formed a close relationship with Bandera (OUN – B) with Bandera. These two ne’do’wells ran amok murdering in Galicia and Poles, Russians, in Volhynia, murdering, Poles, Jews, and others who happened anyone who crossed their paths.

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