The analysis of available historical material of the Kievan Rus period, Hetmanat, People`s Republic of Ukraine reflects the fact that since ancient times Ukrainian  public officials devoted much attention to the role of espionage in the process of the national interests defense, development of intergovernmental relations as well as in planning and conducting military operations.

During the Soviet period the intelligence service inUkrainewas a regional component of the joint all-Union intelligence machinery of theUSSRnational security apparatus.

After the independence ofUkrainewas proclaimed, the Main Department of Intelligence was established within the National Security Service of Ukraine. Its organizational and staff structure was approved by a special order of the Head of the National Security Service of Ukraine (December 28, 1991). This Department faced the tasks to determine the strategy, basic principles, forms and methods of its work according to the classical lines of activity of the modern intelligence service in independentUkraineand provide the senior leadership of the state with intelligence on the leading national security issues on permanent basis.

Several units of strategic radio interception service of the USSR KGB (Committee for State Security) and the Main Department of Intelligence of the General Staff of the USSR Ministry of Defense were dislocated on the territory of theUkrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Department of Electronic Intelligence and Counterintelligence of the Security Service of Ukraine (Service “R”) was established on their basis in 1992 and in 1999 was granted the status of the Main Department “R” of the SSU (Security Service of Ukraine).

The Law ofUkraine”On the Intelligence Bodies of Ukraine”, adopted in March 2001, has become an important step in the strengthening of legal foundations of Ukrainian intelligence. The Law identifies the objectives, major tasks and principles of work of the foreign intelligence bodies, outlines their rights and scopes of activity, the order of interaction between them and other government agencies, the procedure of relations with foreign special services etc.

In February 2004 by the Presidential Decree the Intelligence Department of the Security Service of Ukraine was founded on the basis of the Main Department of Intelligence and the Main Department “R”. Such a decision of the state authorities supported the embodiment by the divisions of Main Department “R” of technical intelligence functions.

The modern period of the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence started on October 14, 2004 with the signing of the Presidential Decree “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”. Since then the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (SZRU) has been operating as an independent state agency.

On December 1, 2005 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine.” Later on this day was chosen to celebrate the anniversary of the formation of the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence.