Secret documents on the U.S. strategy in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict have been published on Twitter, a platform which has belonged to the billionaire since last October.
It is embarrassing and does not reflect a good image at a time when the Russian war in Ukraine has entered its second year, with no certainty about its outcome.
Secret documents that appear to outline the U.S. strategy in Ukraine, China and the Middle East surfaced online on April 5 and on the following days. These classified documents detail the strategy of the United States and its NATO allies to support Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion.
Instead of “plans,” these documents, which date from early March, are more like daily briefings and war-related statistics, and do not contain specific plans for upcoming military operations.
They mention, for example, the rate at which the Ukrainian forces use the ammunition of the Himars mobile rocket launchers, or the timetable for the delivery of weapons or training provided by the West to the soldiers of Kiev. According to these leaks, 12 Ukrainian brigades are being formed, including nine trained and equipped by the United States.
At Least 50 Classified Documents Leaked
A map attempts to assess the dates of the “raspoutitsa”, a period during which due to the melting of the snow in the spring, a large part of the flat land is transformed into a sea of mud. The phenomenon particularly affects roads which are not paved.
“So, in sum: 30+ leaked documents were shared on the WowMao Discord server on March 1st and 2nd 10 files were [reposted] on a Minecraft Map Discord server on March 4th,” Bellingcat’s journalist Aric Toler wrote on Twitter. “On April 5th, 3 of these files were posted on 4chan and 5 (incl. a doctored document) on Russian Telegram channels.”
“Lucca (the guy who posted them on the WowMao server) found them on *another* server before WowMao. The original public leak point is somewhere else on Discord,” Toler added. “In sum I’ve seen 54 documents that Lucca posted on the WowMao Discord channel. There are likely more (seen some people say ~100 in sum). Topics include lots of Russia/Ukraine, but also some briefs on unrelated topics, such as ISIS, China, etc. But most interesting info all UA/RU.”
But some documents seem to have been modified to present the situation in a more favorable light for the Russians, in particular by minimizing the extent of their losses. For example, the US estimate of 43,500 Russian military deaths is down to 17,500, while the 17,500 Ukrainians deaths became 71,500. Likewise, Russian vehicle losses fell from 6,004 to 600.
According to the New York Times, which was the first media outlet to report the leaks, the Pentagon is seeking to identify the author.
‘Yeah, You Can Totally Delete Things from the Internet’
“The Department of Defense is actively reviewing the matter,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said in an emailed statement. “And has made a formal referral to the Department of Justice for investigation.”
The DoD has also asked Twitter to remove posts containing the documents. But it received a scathing response from Elon Musk, the platform’s owner since last October.
“Yeah, you can totally delete things from the Internet – that works perfectly and doesn’t draw attention to whatever you were trying to hide at all,” the billionaire posted on Twitter on Apr. 6, in response to a post saying that “Pentagon is trying to get Twitter to remove posts that contain classified documents about the war in Ukraine.”
For his part, Oleksi Danilov, the secretary of the Ukrainian national security and defense council, explained to Radio Svoboda that there are “no more than five people on the planet who have information about the place, the moment and how the counter-offensive will begin.”
Indeed, the leaks come as Ukraine prepares for a major spring offensive against Russia. The United States has just granted an additional package of $2.6 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine.