Leaked Documents Suggest Russian Infighting Over Ukraine

April 14, 2023

Nearly a dozen leaked classified Pentagon documents include new details about Russian infighting over the war in Ukraine, the New York Times was the first to report on Thursday.

Among those involved in the squabbling are officials within the FSB spy service and the Russian Ministry of Defense.

The documents in question are part of a new batch of some 27 pages that were not among a 53-page grouping that came to public attention last week. 

They reportedly paint a picture of the Russian government feuding over the number of Russian dead and wounded in the Ukraine war, with the FSB accusing the military of obscuring the scale of casualties on the Russian side. 

In one document, U.S. intelligence officials say the FSB has accused the Defense Ministry “of obfuscating Russian casualties in Ukraine,” including a continued reluctance among military officials “to convey bad news up the chain of command.”

In response to a request for comment from CNN, the Kremlin said it doubts the “reliability” of reports about broad infighting between Russian officials.

“I don’t know what these reports [of infighting] are based on, but I’m doubting their reliability and the author’s understanding of the essence of what is happening inside Russia,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

On Thursday, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts National Air Guard named Jack Teixeira was arrested in connection with the leak of the dozens of classified documents, after it was revealed by an online friend of his, without stating his real name, that he’d initially leaked the documents within his small chat group on the platform Discord.

Each disclosure of classified documents has the potential to reveal additional methods and means of U.S. intelligence gathering. The documents do not appear to contain much, if any, information from human sources; most are labeled as coming from communications intercepts, which suggests the leaker may not have had access to highly classified material.

Several of the documents reviewed by CBS News further reveal that U.S. intelligence believes China is “probably developing cyber attack capabilities to deny, exploit and hijack” Western satellite links and networks.

On Thursday Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the Defense Department was reviewing “the scope and impact” of the leaked classified documents, which reveal U.S. spying not just on adversaries but also on allies. 

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.



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