Army troops transporter and tank with Ukrainian flag. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Pentagon Documents on War in Ukraine were leaked
Highly classified documents and information about the war in Ukraine were posted online after a leak from the Pentagon database. Leaked documents detail the US military efforts in the war and intelligence involving other nations. The leaked American intelligence documents are labelled as secret and top secret. The US officials refused to provide any specifics, including the extent of the release and how it happened.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin first became aware of the disclosure of classified briefing slides on April 6. Since that day, US Defense Secretary reached out to allies, held meetings to assess the scope of the information lost and reviewed who has access to those briefings. As a result, US authorities go through leaks that were posted online and try to determine their validity, but officials found that some of the documents have been redacted before being reposted online.
Pentagon officials stated that leaks represent a serious threat to national security and have the potential to spread disinformation. The person at the centre of the massive leak of internal classified documents from the Pentagon that detailed the war in Ukraine and US spying efforts in the world has been identified as Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman. Teixeira is said to have overseen a private online chat group containing around 25 active members, in which the leaked documents were shared. He’s now been arrested. Known as “OG” in the Discord chatroom, the man allegedly claimed to spend parts of his day inside a secure facility where phones were banned. It also appears to be unclear exactly how many highly classified records were leaked, but some estimates put the total in the hundreds as it was found out that Teixeira was leaking documents related to the war in Ukraine within days as Russia attacked its neighbor in February 2022.
Leaked US documents have revealed that disagreements in Russia’s security apparatus led to the defence ministry being accused of undercounting casualties of the war in Ukraine. Russia has said very little publicly about the scale of its war deaths. But the files show the FSB security service claimed officials were not counting deaths of the Russian National Guard, Wagner mercenaries and others. Russia has already warned the leaks may be fake, deliberately dumped by the US.
However, the detail corroborates what was already widely known: that Russia’s military and security groups have had frequent disagreements about handling the war in Ukraine and that Russia has avoided publicising the numbers of dead and wounded.
The FSB’s reported calculation of almost 110,000 casualties by February 2023 is still far lower than numbers this week in previously leaked US documents, which estimated Russian losses at 189,500 and 223,000 casualties, with 35,500-43,000 men killed in action.
Russia’s most recent official figure dates back to September last year when the deaths of 5,937 servicemen were confirmed. The same document says under-reporting of casualties within the system highlights the military’s “continuing reluctance” to convey bad news up the chain of command.
Other leaked documents show how heavily Kyiv relies on American intelligence services since they provide Ukraine with real-time warnings on the timing of Russia’s airstrikes and precise targeting data. Therefore, one of the US biggest concerns about the leaks has been that Kremlin would find and seal off the sources of American intelligence. However, since the leak of documents, there has been no indication that Kremlin’s officials have taken steps to block the US from penetrating Russia’s intelligence and security services.
Other leaked documents detailed US training and equipment schedules to support Ukraine and the steps Moscow may take to undermine relationships between the US and its allies and strategic partners. However, there were no signs that Moscow decided to change their operations on the ground in Ukraine in response to the leaks. The disclosures also show that Western officials believe that war will likely drag on into the next year and that Moscow’s offensive in the Donbas region is heading toward stalemate.
Some Ukrainian public figures are convinced that the leak of the documents is useful for Ukraine because it emphasises the fact that Kyiv urgently needs more weapons and ammunition to defeat Russian troops.