kyiv refuses to share details of its operations with Washington, possibly manipulating information to keep US arms flowing
The US government has better information on Russian troops in Ukraine than on Ukrainian forces, The New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing US officials. kyiv keeps its biggest military sponsor in the dark, possibly even misleading Washington to protect the generous flow of US military aid into the country, according to the newspaper.
According to NYT sources, the Ukrainian government is giving the United States “few classified briefings or details of their operational plans” while the US intelligence community’s ability to collect data in Ukraine is limited, as it has long focused on Russia.
“As far as the Ukrainians are concerned, the United States worked to strengthen their intelligence service, not to spy on their government,” he added. says the report. Intelligence gathering was complicated by cloudy weather in Ukraine, limiting the effectiveness of satellites in monitoring Ukrainian troops.
“The secrecy of Ukraine has forced US military and intelligence officials to try to learn what they can from other countries operating in Ukraine, training sessions with Ukrainians and [from Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s public comments,” the NYT quoted its sources as saying.
With Kyiv’s secrecy comes the obvious caveat that any nation engaged in military conflict has an incentive to project an image of strength, regardless of the actual situation on the ground. Ukrainian officials “do not want to present information that could encourage the United States and its other Western partners to slow the flow of weapons”, says the newspaper.
Beth Sanner, a former senior intelligence official, commented on the conundrum, saying the US intelligence community was setting itself a potential trap.
“We are not talking about whether Ukraine could win [the Russians]. And to me, I feel like we’re setting ourselves up for another intelligence failure by not talking about it publicly.” she told the newspaper.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the republics from the Donbass of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
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