UKRAINE/RUSSIA: Ukraine’s officials discussed ways to avert military information leaks after secret documents describing U.S. and NATO efforts to assist the nation in planning a counteroffensive against Russia’s incursion reportedly surfaced on social media.
According to senior U.S. officials cited by the media reports on Thursday, sensitive war documents were published this week on Twitter and Telegram, which are extensively used in Russia.
The documents comprised a “very large amount of fictitious information,” a Ukrainian official told the media, adding the posts appeared to be part of a Russian misinformation campaign to cast doubt on the invasion, which calls for cutting-edge Western weapons.
“These are just standard elements of Russian intelligence’s operational games. And nothing else,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential official. A request for comment was not immediately answered by the Kremlin.
The declaration by the presidential office of discussions on Friday at the Ukrainian military’s supreme command headquarters, attended by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, made no mention of a leak has happened.
“The participants of the meeting focused on measures to prevent the leakage of information regarding the plans of the defence forces of Ukraine,” it stated.
It was unclear from the discussions if the focus was on averting leaks from within Ukraine or from among the Western allies it now freely exchanges information with after an initial reluctance in the early wake of Russia’s incursion.
Although the documents did not specify when or where the offensive would take place, according to reports, the leak might have had a negative impact on trust between the Allies because they provided delivery schedules for weapons and Western-trained Ukrainian forces.
They appeared to have been altered in some areas, which overestimated American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and underestimated Russian military deaths, the paper stated, adding that U.S. officials were seeking to have the posters removed.
An inquiry for comment from the White House was not answered. When questioned about the reports of the social media posts, a Pentagon official responded, “We are aware of the reports, and the department is reviewing the matter.”
Three American officials told the media in Washington that it was probable that Russia or groups supportive of Russia were responsible for the leak.
A document shared on social media stated 16,000 to 17,500 Russian servicemen had died since the invasion. The US estimates that the real number is far higher, at about 200,000 killed and injured Russians, say officials.
On the battlefront: Ukraine’s troops holding on in Bakhmut despite tough situation
British intelligence had earlier reported that Russian forces were posing a threat to a vital supply line to Bakhmut, the target of their months-long assault, which Ukraine has claimed to be protecting in order to wear the invaders down before launching a counteroffensive.
The Ukrainian military stated it was still holding on in the city, but the situation was tough. Zelenskiy stated on Wednesday that his troops would withdraw from Bakhmut—one of the remaining urban areas in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region that has yet to fall to Russian soldiers—if they were in danger of being encircled.
The battle for Bakhmut, a now mostly destroyed regional transportation and logistics hub, is reportedly costing both sides a significant number of soldiers, say western analysts.
Zelenskiy expressed concern to U.S. media last month that if Russian forces captured Bakhmut, they would have “an open road” to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, two larger cities in the Donetsk region.
Numerous towns and cities have been destroyed, and hundreds of civilians have been killed, forcing millions of Ukrainians to flee the conflict.
In the last 24 hours, Russian artillery, missile, and aircraft attacks on 114 settlements in nine districts resulted in three civilian deaths and 17 civilian injuries, according to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry.
Officials in Russian-controlled regions of eastern Ukraine stated that seven civilians were killed in two Ukrainian artillery strikes on Thursday. But both sides refute targeting civilians.
Moscow says that it invaded Ukraine because Russia’s own security was threatened by its step towards the West. Since then, the Russian government has cracked down on internal dissent.
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