Yevgeny Z. was the owner of a mixed martial arts gym in Ukraine.
But it was much more than just a gym.
The place trained paramilitary fighters to engage in street fights with Ukrainian supporters.
And Yevgeny was much more than a martial arts trainer.
He oversaw a militia that kidnapped and tortured hostages. He even tortured people on camera and released the footage to threaten those who participated in protests.
Yevgeny fled to Russia after Ukraine issued a warrant for his arrest.
He settled in Moscow where he continued his activities against Ukraine.
One evening, Yevgeny and a friend were eating at a high-end restaurant in a Moscow suburb.
A man with a fake mustache, sunglasses, and a hat walked up to their table and shot both men at point-blank range, killing Yevgeny.
The killer had been sitting at a table in the restaurant for about 20 minutes before the two men arrived.
It appeared to be an assassination planned and carried out by Ukrainian operatives who claim they were trained by the CIA.
Since 2015, the CIA has spent millions of dollars training Ukrainian operatives.
When the CIA started helping Ukraine, one of the objectives was teaching them to take active measures.
Or, in other words, lethal actions.
Ukraine did this by assassinating over a half dozen Russian officials.
Even though U.S. officers aren’t directly involved with Ukrainian operations there is no doubt they are playing a role.
In fact, here are a few of the ways that CIA officers are training Ukrainian spies.
Operating behind enemy lines:
One of the first things that CIA trainers in Ukraine did was hand-pick the Ukrainians they wanted to train.
According to a Ukrainian official, the goal was to train people “capable of operating behind front lines and working as covert groups”.
As you may know, the CIA is very good at creating disguises.
And officers helped Ukrainians with disguises, including uniforms to help them blend in behind enemy lines.
The assassination of Yevgeny has the tell-tale signs of CIA operations, even though the CIA denied being part of it.
And, while you aren’t an operative in Ukraine, you should be able to blend in during a disaster.
If you don’t have a simple disguise to throw people off, it’s a good idea to plan one. You never know when it might be needed.
Something as simple as a hat, sunglasses, and a reversible jacket can totally change your look, and the ensemble is quick to assemble and put on in a pinch.
When the CIA started training in Ukraine, they wanted to work with younger Ukrainians to avoid older generations that might have ties to the Soviet Union.
As one U.S. official said, the best operatives “were young guys, not Soviet-era KGB generals.”
Another reason the U.S. wanted to work with younger Ukrainians is that they were more diverse.
Younger generations have a better understanding of things like social media, which can play a role in operations.
And while younger generations can be immature, they can bring skills other generations simply don’t have and aren’t accustomed to.
Another way the CIA has helped Ukrainians is by providing them with technology including eavesdropping systems.
When the CIA came to the country, they were concerned that Ukrainian offices had been compromised by Russia.
To avoid that risk, the CIA built new buildings where the CIA could help collect data and send it back to Washington to be analyzed.
While we shouldn’t be solely dependent on technology, there are times when it can serve valuable purposes, such as intel gathering.
The CIA has spent millions of dollars in Ukraine, but, officially, the CIA has never been involved in Ukrainian spy operations.
It’s a boundary one U.S. official said is “occasionally blurred.”
Now, if you don’t have a simple disguise ready to go in case you need it, or you don’t have an easy to implement, but reliable escape and evasion plan, I have good news.
I reveal the same escape and evasion planning and system I use, along with a whole host of other spy skills.
The good news is that these skills are easy to pick up and use.
They have to be, because operatives need to be able to use them on the fly when things go sideways on a mission, and time is of the essence.