Russian infighting ‘broader and deeper’ than previously believed – leaked US intel
Yevgeny Prigozhin, Vladimir Putin and Dmytro Peskov (Photo:REUTERS/Misha Japaridze/Pool/File Photo/File Photo)
The depth of the infighting inside the Russian government appears broader and deeper than previously thought – if documents from the newest cache of classified intelligence documents leaked online is to be believed, the New York Times reported on April 13.
The documents underscore several of the overarching reasons why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has failed to secure a military victory in Ukraine after more than 13 months of war, says the NYT.
The article highlights infighting and finger-pointing among Russian agencies responsible for war, including the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Defense Ministry. While casualty numbers in the leaked documents provide little context for the U.S. intelligence findings, it reports that the FSB questions the Russian Defense Ministry’s own casualty count in discussions with the Russian government.
FSB officials, for example, complain that the Defense Ministry’s count did not include dead and wounded from the Russian National Guard, the Wagner mercenary forces, or Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov’s fighters. The FSB instead “calculated (that) the actual number of Russians wounded and killed in action was closer to 110,000,” says the document according to the NYT.
U.S. intelligence officials in one document say that the FSB has “accused” the Defense Ministry “of obfuscating Russian casualties in Ukraine.” They argue that this highlights “the continuing reluctance of military officials to convey bad news up the chain of command.”
The new documents provide fresh details about the February public dispute between Wagner Force founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian military officials over the withholding of needed ammunition from his fighters. Putin personally attempted to resolve the dispute by calling Prigozhin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to a meeting believed to have taken place on Feb. 22, one document reports.
Included in a document dated Feb. 28 that includes a series of updates about the war in Ukraine and other global hot spots, the information appears to be based on electronic intercepts collected by U.S. intelligence agencies.
The leaked documents do not appear to contain much, if any, information from human sources, suggesting the original leaker may not have had access to that more highly classified material.
The Pentagon is investigating a leak of classified documents relating to U.S. and NATO efforts to prepare the Armed Forces of Ukraine for an expected counter-offensive, NYT reported on April 6, citing White House Sources.
Ukrainian Defense Intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov has said that the documents were forged by Russian special services, pointing out that the documents contain false data on combat losses for both sides, with some other information gathered from open sources.
Another batch of secret documents that appear to detail U.S. national security secrets on Ukraine, the Middle East, and China surfaced online on April 7.
The Pentagon is still working to determine the scale of a leak of classified information that has occurred in recent weeks, said Chris Meagher, assistant to the U.S. secretary of defense for public affairs, on April 10.
He noted that the documents circulating online pose “a very serious risk to national security and have the potential to spread disinformation.”
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