Global Affairs

What the West knew about Russia's plans to invade Ukraine

The way intelligence was used in this conflict will have a profound effect on the conduct of future operations and the way spying agencies work in the future.

A satellite image taken on Feb 21 shows a deployment of material support and troops in a rural area south-west of Belgorod, Russia, less than 20kms to the border with Ukraine. PHOTO: MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES
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Intelligence information is the bloodline of any war; clues collected by spies or pieced together from intercepts and electronic monitoring are critical to all combatants.

Yet for obvious reasons, intelligence is neither seen nor heard. It may be years before we get even a hint of the sort of intelligence information possessed by a country involved in fighting; the British took decades before admitting that they succeeded in cracking some of Nazi Germany's communication codes during World War II.

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