Pentagon investigating purported leak of secret military documents about Ukraine
Stars and Stripes April 7, 2023
WASHINGTON – The Defense Department is investigating a purported leak on social media of classified military documents that lay out details about U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine against invading Russian forces, a Pentagon official said Friday.
“We are aware of the reports of social media posts, and the department is reviewing the matter,” said Sabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary.
The documents included “secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive against Russian troops,” The New York Times reported Thursday. The documents were leaked on the social media sites Twitter and Telegram.
The materials posted online included maps of Ukraine, information on where troops are located and what kind of weapons are available to them, according to images of the purported secret documents. The materials are not high-quality scans, but rather crude photographs of physical documents. One is titled “U.S., Allied and Partner UAF Combat Partner Build” and another carries a “top secret” heading that reads “Status of the Conflict As of 1 Mar.”
The documents leaked online have not been authenticated by U.S. officials and Ukrainian leaders, who think the leak could be an attempt by Russia to spread disinformation.
“This is a bluff, dust in the eyes,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to a translation of his social media channel. “[The leakers] are only trying to play destabilization, informationally and psychologically influence decision-makers.”
“Russia is looking for any way to intercept the information initiative, to try to influence the scenario plans of Ukraine's counteroffensive,” he added. “To introduce doubts, to compromise previous ideas, to frighten. … This has nothing to do with Ukraine's real plans.”
The purported leak comes at a time when Russian forces continue to struggle on the battlefields in eastern Ukraine. For months, Russian and Ukrainian forces have been fighting for control of Bakhmut, a key city in Donetsk Oblast in the far east of the country that’s important because of its infrastructure connecting southern Russia with Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
For weeks, Ukraine and allies have been preparing to withstand a possible spring offensive by Russian troops, which have already suffered tremendous losses in Ukraine since the war began in early 2022. U.S. officials estimate that at least 150,000 Russian ground troops were killed or injured between the start of the war and February.