Ukraine withholding counteroffensive details from allies over Pentagon leaks – report

03.05.2023, 07:55
Ukraine withholding counteroffensive details from allies over Pentagon leaks – report - Photo
Photo via the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Kyiv is keeping secret from its allies the details of its spring counteroffensive in an attempt to prevent the leak of sensitive information that could compromise its positions on the battlefield, Politico reports, citing European officials who are in touch with military leaders in Ukraine.

Sources told Politico that Ukrainians cited the alleged leak of classified documents from the Pentagon, which included information about Ukraine’s preparations for the counteroffensive,  as one of the reasons they are reluctant to share detailed intelligence data.

Such information includes the timing of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, and where and how many troops it plans to move into position for the operation.

While Ukraine is still likely sharing some ‘basic intelligence’ with the US and other European countries that have supported it with weapons over the past year, it is working to prevent the widespread dissemination of details related to battlefield planning, the European officials told Politico.

A Ukrainian lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that top officials in Kyiv also had withheld details about the counteroffensive from other politicians.

"There are only a few people in the country that know the plan," they said.

A US defence official said in an interview with Politico that they had not seen any change in Kyiv’s information-sharing. There have been no signs of Ukraine keeping anything from the US, they added.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told Politico that Ukraine was not under any obligation to "notify us or tell us in advance" about its counteroffensive.

"Oftentimes we certainly do have a sense [of Ukraine’s planning] because we’re in daily communication with them," My Kirby said, adding that "[w]hat we’re focused on is not whether we get some sort of heads up. We’re focused on making sure that they have everything they need for when they’re ready to go."

Last month, Ukraine's defence intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said the alleged leak of classified Pentagon documents would not affect Ukraine's counteroffensive planning.

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