A senior Pentagon official confirmed that classified documents detailing secret US and NATO plans for building up Ukraine’s military ahead of the planned spring counteroffensive were leaked and posted on social media last week, according to the New York Times.
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said the administration is aware of the leaked documents that appeared both on Twitter and the messaging app Telegram, which is widely available in Russia. Singh said that the Defense Department is “reviewing the matter” and looking into how the documents were obtained and who might have leaked them.
According to military analysts, certain parts of the documents appear to have been modified from the original format to overstate US estimates of Ukrainian casualties while understating estimates of Russian casualties. The modifications could indicate that this is a disinformation effort on the part of the Kremlin, the analysts told the Times.
However, the leak of the original documents, which are photographs of charts detailing anticipated weapons deliveries, troop strengths, and other plans, is a significant breach of US intelligence related to the effort to aid Ukraine in the war.
According to the Times, administration officials were attempting to get the documents deleted but as of last Thursday, had not succeeded.
The leaked documents do not include specific battle plans on how, where, or when Ukraine plans to launch its spring counteroffensive. And since the leaked documents are more than a month old, they merely provide a “snapshot” of what the US and Ukraine believed would be required for the campaign as of March 1.
However, the Times reported that for any trained Russian war planner, intelligence analyst, or field general, the documents would provide “tantalizing clues and insights.” For example, the documents mention the expenditure rate of the US-supplied high-mobility artillery rocket systems (or HIMARS) which the Ukrainian military has been using with great success.
According to the Times, since the documents were posted widely on a social media channel used in Russia, the leak will provide Moscow with the first intelligence breakthrough since the invasion began.