The US Defense Department is launching an interagency investigation into the source and the damage potential of a trove of classified documents that were leaked onto social media over the past few days.
The White House said the apparent leak will not impact US security and intelligence assistance to Ukraine.
The documents contained sensitive information on not just Ukraine, but China, the Middle East and Africa, according to reports. They also revealed the rate of expenditure of Ukraine’s S-300 air defense systems and a timeline suggesting when they would be depleted — and that they are running dangerously low.
Graham Allison, Harvard’s Douglas Dillon professor of government, said the Ukrainian government has said its military is “killing ten times as many Russians as Russians are killing Ukrainians.” But the intelligence leak suggests, instead, that there are four times as many Ukrainians killed, he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”
The classified documents that surfaced on social media last week include details on Ukraine’s air defenses and plans for a spring offensive against Russian troops. Allison called this a “big loss” for Ukraine, as information about its air defenses “make it possible for Moscow to bring its aircraft and bombers back into the fight.”
Leaked intel documents say Ukraine may soon run out of critical air defenses
One document, dated Feb. 23, and marked “Secret,” warned that Ukraine’s S-300 air defense systems, which are from the Soviet era, would be depleted by May 2 at their current rate of expenditure, according to reporting by The New York Times. It isn’t clear, however, whether that rate of expenditure has since slowed or sped up.
“Without a huge influx of munitions, Ukraine’s entire air defense network, weakened by repeated barrages from Russian drones and missiles, could fracture, according to US officials and newly leaked Pentagon documents, potentially allowing President Putin to unleash his lethal fighter jets in ways that could change the course of the war,” the Times wrote.
The intel leak may force Ukraine to change some of its military plans related to its anticipated spring offensive, according to a report. The legitimacy of the Pentagon documents is still being verified.
Eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka in ‘total ruin,’ less than 6% of prewar population left
The eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka has been reduced to “total ruin” by Russian shelling, Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
“The Russians have turned Avdiivka into a total ruin,” and those who still live there “risk their lives every day,” Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.
The city’s prewar population of 32,000 has been reduced to a mere 1,800. The governor reported that a Russian airstrike hit and destroyed a multistory building on Monday.
“Fortunately, there were no casualties as all the residents of the building evacuated in time,” he said.
World Bank president condemns Russian detention of Wall Street Journal reporter
World Bank President David Malpass strongly criticized Russia’s detention of American Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been charged with espionage by the Russian government. Gershkovich, his family, The Wall Street Journal, and the Biden administration strongly reject the charges and have demanded his release.
“It’s a brazen act by Russia. It violates press freedom, freedom of the press, which the World Bank Group has long recognized as vital. That includes the safety of journalists,” Malpass told reporters.
“Press freedom increases transparency and accountability. It keeps a check on governance, it exposes corruption, transmits ideas, promotes innovation,” he said, adding that he hoped Gershkovich is released and reunited with his family as soon as possible.
‘Closest topics’ discussed by Putin, Lukashenko during meeting in Kremlin apartment
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko addressed “the closest topics” when they met in the Russian leader’s official apartment in the Kremlin earlier this week, the Pul Pervogo Telegram channel close to the press service of the Belarusian president said on Sunday.
“After the talks and a working dinner in the Kremlin, the leaders continued communication in the Kremlin apartment. Naturally, they discussed the closest topics,” Pervogo said.
On April 5, the two presidents held one-on-one talks in the Kremlin and attended a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus on the following day.
The President of Belarus told Russia’s defense minister on Monday that he wanted guarantees that Moscow would defend his country if it was attacked, the state-owned BelTA news agency reported.
BelTA cited Lukashenko as making the remarks to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Lukashenko was cited as saying that he had previously discussed the matter with the Russian President, who he said had agreed with him that such security guarantees were necessary and needed to be formalized.
“In general, it sounded at the talks (with Putin) that in the case of aggression against Belarus, the Russian Federation would protect Belarus as its own territory. These are the kind of security (guarantees) we need,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying.
Russia plans to revamp air defenses, bolster protection along border with Finland
Russia will increase its air defenses along its north-west border with Finland in response to Helsinki’s NATO accession, a Russian air force commander said in an interview.
Russian air defense forces have been challenged by Ukrainian strikes, and the country aims to revamp and reform them following the experience it gained in the war so far, Lieutenant General Andrei Demin told Russian newspaper Red Star in an interview, according to Reuters.
Finland’s new NATO membership means that the Western military alliance now occupies an additional 830 miles along Russia’s border.
“In these conditions, the air defense forces are working out issues of protecting the state border in the north-west of the country in accordance with the increased threat level,” Demin said, according to a Reuters translation.
Compiled by Ana Dumbadze