US intelligence documents that were leaked online suggest the Biden administration is far from confident that Ukraine can quickly mount a counteroffensive that will oust Russian troops from the country.
The trove of documents, whose authenticity Washington has repeatedly declined to confirm or deny, has already thrown a wrench into many of the US’s most vital relations, apparently exposing closed-door assessments that have riled allies and partners.
The latest tranche dates to February and March and shows a sour US assessment of Ukraine’s force posture, including an analysis of medium-range air defense missiles that are used to thwart Russian strikes.
The Ukrainian stockpile of those munitions could be “completely reduced by May 23,” according to one classified document reported on by CNN. That would allow Russia to claim air superiority in Ukraine, which would have devastating effects for Ukraine’s ground forces that are expected to play the lead role in an expected spring counteroffensive.
But even as the documents raise questions over Ukrainian preparations, they similarly offer a downbeat assessment of Russian forces and predict a stalemate between the warring parties.
“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,” one of the documents says, according to CNN.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday vowed to find the source of the unauthorized disclosures, pledging “to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this, and the extent of it.”
The Justice Department and Pentagon have opened investigations into how the cache was released without authorization and who might have been responsible.
Many are crudely taken photographs of documents with markings bearing varying levels of classification and appear to be folded, according to images circulating on social media. Some carry Joint Chiefs of Staff seals.
CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE