War in Ukraine could drag on beyond 2023, leaked US forecast says
Ukrainian defenders at the front near Bakhmut (Photo:REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)
U.S. assessments of the war between Ukraine and Russia suggest the conflict could continue beyond 2023, the recent leaks of alleged classified Pentagon documents show, Reuters reported on April 12. The news agency noted it was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the leaked documents.
One of the papers, dated Feb. 23 and titled “Battle for the Donbas Region Likely Heading for a Stalemate Throughout 2023,” suggests Russia won’t be able to seize Donbas by the end of the year.
“Russia's grinding campaign of attrition in the Donbas region is likely heading toward a stalemate, thwarting Moscow's goal to capture the entire region in 2023,” the report quotes the document.
“These tactics have diminished Russian forces and munition stockpiles to a level that, barring an unforeseen recovery, can exhaust Russian units and frustrate Moscow's war aims, resulting in a protracted war beyond 2023.”
Another assessment says that both Ukrainian and Russian forces have “moderate combat sustainability,” meaning then neither side is likely to suffer a collapse of its ability to fight.
On April 6, The New York Times, citing sources in the White House, reported that the Pentagon was investigating a leak of classified documents relating to U.S. and NATO efforts to prepare the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the coming counteroffensive. Recently, classified materials, dated March 1, appeared on Twitter, Telegram, and across other social media and messenger apps.
The following day, more papers were made public, revealing alleged U.S. efforts to spy on its allies in Asia and Middle East.
On April 11, UK Defense Ministry urged caution when examining the documents, saying they contain “a serious level of inaccuracy.”
Ukrainian officials suggested that Russian intelligence community is behind the leak, pointing towards several obvious alterations of the source material which paint a more favorable picture of Moscow’s standing in the war. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the documents contain “a mix of truth and lies.”
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