Pentagon leaks nothing more than “standard special operation”, says military intelligence chief

19 April, 02:14 PM
The leaks were not severely damaging to the Ukrainian war effort, the HUR director argued (Photo:REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

The leaks were not severely damaging to the Ukrainian war effort, the HUR director argued (Photo:REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

The leak of classified U.S. Pentagon military documents is nothing more than a "standard special information operation", Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) told Radio NV in an interview on April 17.

Much of the leaked data about Ukraine was false, Budanov claimed, adding that operations of this nature typically contain "70–80% of generally true facts" and "20–30% are modified or artificially created facts.” These “created facts” are “usually the key ones”, the spy chief added.

The leaks themselves appear to contain U.S. assessments of Ukraine’s military, including remaining reserves of air defense munitions, the orders of battle of units being prepared for counter-offensive operations, and pessimistic U.S. prognoses of Ukraine’s military plans for the year. Edited versions of the leaks, circulating on pro-Russian Telegram channels, also had inaccurate and manipulated casualty counts in favor of Russia, though the unedited copies show casualty counts in line with common analyst expectations.

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Ultimately, the leaks were intended to damage relations between Ukraine and the U.S., Budanov explained, though he believes the leaks had failed to achieve this objective of sowing distrust. Additionally, the leaks were not severely damaging to the Ukrainian war effort, the HUR director argued, saying that “documents that were much larger in size, in terms of the amount of material, have gotten out very often.”

The leaked files also apparently contained U.S. assessments of internal debates about the war in Moscow itself, claiming that the head of the Russian Security Council and former FSBDirector Nikolai Patrushev, as well as the Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, favored slowing down the war effort.

However, Budanov called this analysis a “pure lie.” In his view, “Gerasimov was, in principle, one of the few in favor of a military operation,” while “Patrushev took a more neutral position.” According to the HUR director, there is no significant disagreement at this point between the Russian FSB and Ministry of Defense, and said that while Russia’s economic elite is dissatisfied with the course of the country, the past 400 years of Russian history indicate that any sort of revolt against Putin remains very unlikely.

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