Russia’s General Staff spread disinformation about winter offensive on Kyiv – Pentagon leaks

25 April, 04:42 PM
Defenders of Kyiv in the first days of a full-scale invasion in 2022 (Photo:Reuters)

Defenders of Kyiv in the first days of a full-scale invasion in 2022 (Photo:Reuters)

Rumors of a Russian offensive on Kyiv this winter were, in fact, disinformation from the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, according to a U.S. Department of Defense document discovered in last month’s leaks, the Russian service of RFE/RL reported on April 25.

The leaked document states that in February 2023, the Main Operations Directorate (GOU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces reported on “successful efforts in operational masking” aimed at convincing the Ukrainian intelligence of a possible new offensive on Ukraine from Belarus.

The “operational masking” operation took place from Feb. 3 to 10, it says.

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According to the Pentagon, GOU leaders stated that they “successfully convinced the Ukrainian intelligence services of the possibility of a joint Russian-Belarusian offensive from the territory of Belarus.”

Proving the operation’s success, a GOU representative cited a report from Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service regarding Ukraine’s response to the announcement of joint aviation and tactical exercises by Russia and Belarus on Jan. 16. The report also noted the transfer of Iskander-M missile complexes from Russia to Belarus and a shift in Russian-Belarusian exercises from “defensive” to “offensive.”

Ukraine’s Armed Forces also allegedly interpreted exercises in Belarus as Russia’s attempt to secretly form combat-ready units for an offensive in Volyn to disrupt the delivery of Western military aid.

The document lists those exercises to be from units of Russia’s 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division, 6th Motor Rifle Division, and 3rd Army Corps.

The GOU recommended continuing the disinformation operation regarding the possibility of an offensive from Belarus in two phases, one until March 6 and the other from March 6 to 11. The General Staff of Belarus’ Armed Forces was to approve the plans for both phases.

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, Mark Milley, stated in February that there was no direct threat of Russian occupation of Kyiv.

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov, also said that he did not believe in a new Russian offensive on Kyiv on Feb. 6.

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