A huge trove of leaked Pentagon documents suggests the US knows far more about Russia’s war campaign than Ukraine’s – despite funding the latter to the tune of $200 billion.
The documents, which were leaked online in recent days, portray the Russian military as struggling in their war with Ukraine, which has killed hundreds of thousands.
Intelligence agencies are believed to have comprehensively infiltrated Russia’s military and its leading spy agencies, offering considerable knowledge of upcoming maneuvers, as well as insights into how badly Putin’s war is going.
But the same cannot be said for Ukraine, according to the New York Times. The paper reported that ‘The United States has a clearer understanding of Russian military operations than it does of Ukrainian planning.’
US officials have allegedly resorted to spying on Ukraine itself to try and get an idea of their military plans.
America also remains unsure of the total number of Ukrainian casualties – with the documents stating only that Zelensky’s forces have suffered 124,500 to 131,000 casualties, and 17,500 dead.
Even then, intelligence officials say confidence in the accuracy of those figures are low.
And it’s also unclear if American intelligence gathering helped Ukraine after it flagged Kremlin plans to bomb a drone depot in Odesa, days before the strike eventually took place.
Leaked documents suggest the U.S. knows more about Putin’s war operations than Zelensky’s, which raises questions over the $200 billion in military aid that has been sent to Ukraine
The United States has devoted most of its considerable spying resources to hindering Putin’s efforts and helping Ukraine.
But its spies have also been eavesdropping on allies, including Ukraine itself, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Israel.
The Times reported that Ukraine is being spied on in the hopes of getting a clearer picture of its military strategies, to try and help maximize the effectiveness of its army against Putin.
That comes despite the US spending $200 billion on advanced military hardware and spying equipment for Ukraine, with the cash credited for helping the country successfully hold-off Russian advances far longer than anyone thought necessary.
And while support for funding Ukraine continues to have bipartisan support, news that US officials are often in the dark could raise questions over the sheer amount of resources that the White House continues to send to Eastern Europe.
Russia flagship Moskva was blown up by Ukrainian missiles last April and sunk in the Black Sea, leading to deaths of hundreds of servicemen. It was seen as a huge coup for Ukraine, whose forces have been given a steady stream of accurate intelligence on Russia that has proved devastating for Putin’s war effort
The documents offer detailed insights into which Russian intelligence agencies have been most compromised, and clues as to how the US has obtained so much Kremlin information
The 100 pages of documents, at least some of which are believed to be accurate, were leaked on a Discord server earlier this year.
They’ve triggered panic at the Pentagon, and a huge effort to work out where the leak is coming from.
Ukraine has suggested they’re not real, but Pentagon officials are said to be treating them as genuine, exposing another schism between the US and its costly ally.
They also appear to show that the intelligence services have been compromised as some reports contain daily real-time warnings on the timing and targets of Moscow’s strikes – which has enabled the U.S. to warn their Ukrainian counterparts.
The documents – while up to several months old – offer detailed insights into which Russian intelligence agencies have been most compromised, and clues as to how the United States has gleaned so much secret Kremlin information.
US intelligence on Russia is said to have been so good that Ukraine was given two days notice of a strike on a drone depot. American spies are also said to have deeply-infiltrated Russia’s GRU intelligence agency – the successor to the KGB – and discovered how poorly Putin’s war effort is going.
While American officials have previously estimated Russian losses at about 200,000 soldiers, one of the reports indicated that there have been 189,500 to 223,000 casualties, including up to 43,000 killed in action.
Losses are believed to be lower in Ukraine, although US officials are reluctant to commit to a firm figure.
Pentagon officials are said to be launching a huge probe into the leak. The leaked documents shared online – at least some of which are believed to be genuine – consist of photographs of printed sheets of paper.
Classified documents can only normally be printed using a secure process, which may make it easier for officials to find the source of the leak.
Despite the Biden administration pouring almost $200 billion into the Ukrainian military, the leak revealed that its stockpiles are severely depleted and it is low on air defense ammunition
The documents, which were posted on sites such as Twitter, are labeled secret and resemble routine updates that the U.S. military’s Joint Staff would produce daily but not distribute publicly.
They remain online, with Twitter owner Elon Musk saying there was little point in banning information which has already been widely circulated, and which will be easily-found elsewhere even if his moderators remove it.
They are dated ranging from February 23 to March 1, and provide what appears to be details on the progress of weapons and equipment going into Ukraine with more precise timelines and amounts than the U.S. generally provides publicly.
They are not war plans and they provide no details on any planned Ukraine offensive. And some inaccuracies — including estimates of Russian troops deaths that are significantly lower than numbers publicly stated by U.S. officials — have led some to question the documents’ authenticity.
Assurances over the validity of the US military’s spying apparatus is set to be further disrupted by revelations that America’s focus extends far beyond its Russian enemies.
Allied nations, such as South Korea, have also reportedly been the subject of spying by the Pentagon, raising questions as to the diplomatic impact the leak could have at a time of deteriorating global ties.
The documents, which were posted on social media sites including Twitter, Discord and Telegram, have also highlighted the devastating impact the war in Ukraine has had on both sides of the conflict.
Despite the Biden administration pouring almost $200 billion into the Ukrainian military, the leak revealed that its stockpiles are severely depleted and it is low on air defense ammunition.
But with Russian forces also found to be struggling, reports indicate a renewed push backed by western forces in the coming months.
One of the leaks, reportedly posted to Telegram, detailed ‘a secret plan to prepare and equip nine brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the US and NATO for the spring offensive.’
The Biden administration has not denied the legitimacy of the leak, but it did claim that certain documents had been doctored.
An FBI probe was launched Friday to determine the source of the leak, however a senior official told The New York Times that tracking down the perpetrator could prove difficult because a large number of officials have the security clearances needed to access the information.