NYT reports NATO documents about the war in Ukraine being leaked onto social media
The New York Times reported that classified war documents detailing secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive against Russia have appeared on Twitter and Telegram. According to the publication, the Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents.
According to the newspaper, some of the leaked documents are labeled “top secret”. The documents do not provide specific battle plans, like how, when, and where Ukraine intends to launch its offensive, but they do offer the American and Ukrainian view, as of March 1, of what Ukrainian troops might need for the campaign.
One of the documents includes columns that list Ukrainian troop units, equipment and training, with schedules for January through April. The document contains a summary of 12 combat brigades that are being assembled. Nine of them apparently being trained and supplied by the United States and other NATO allies. Of those nine brigades, the documents said that six would be ready by March 31 and the rest by April 30.
Also, according to the NYT, the document said that equipment delivery times would impact training and readiness in order to meet the timeline. Total equipment needed for nine brigades, the document said, was more than 250 tanks and more than 350 mechanized vehicles.
Military analysts said the documents appear to have been modified in certain parts from their original format. For example, one of the slides said 16,000 to 17,500 Russian soldiers had been killed while Ukraine had suffered as many as 71,500 troop deaths. The Pentagon and other analysts have estimated that Russia has suffered far more casualties, with closer to 200,000 killed and injured.
The analysts warned that documents released by Russian sources could be selectively altered to present the Kremlin’s disinformation. Nonetheless, analysts said parts of the documents appeared authentic and would provide Russia with valuable information such as the timetables for the delivery of weapons and other military details.
According to the NYT, the Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents, which appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, and Biden officials were working to get them deleted.
“We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” said Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary at the Pentagon.
“Whether these documents are authentic or not, people should take care with anything released by Russian sources,” said Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at CNA, a research institute in Arlington, Va.
The NYT believes that it could be difficult to assess the impact of the documents’ disclosure on the frontline fighting, but it is bound to harm intelligence sharing between Ukraine and the United States.
It will be recalled that the NSDC Secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, has said that no more than five people on the planet are privy to the information on where, when and how the counteroffensive of the Defense Forces of Ukraine will begin. The Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Hanna Malyar, has said that there had never been a leak of true information about Ukraine's military plans.
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