The Pentagon is investigating a reported security breach that saw documents that provide details of US and Nato plans to help prepare Ukraine for a spring offensive against Russia have leaked to social media platforms, the New York Times reports.
“We are aware of the reports of social media posts, and the Department is reviewing the matter,” Deputy Press Secretary of the US Department of Defence Sabrina Singh said.
The documents were spread on Twitter and Telegram, and reportedly contain charts and details about weapons deliveries, battalion strengths and other sensitive information, the Times said.
Information in the documents is at least five weeks old, with the most recent dated 1 March, the report said.
One of the documents summarized the training schedules of 12 Ukraine combat brigades, and said nine of them were being trained by US and Nato forces, and needed 250 tanks and more than 350 mechanized vehicles, the newspaper said.
The documents – at least one of which carried a “top secret” label – were circulated on pro-Russian government channels, it said.
In Other Developments
* The head of Russia’s private Wagner militia said Ukrainian forces were not abandoning Bakhmut but that, even if they did, he would need more support from the regular Russian military before trying to advance further.
* Seven civilians were reported killed by Ukrainian artillery strikes in Russian-controlled areas as the battle for Bakhmut, the devastated eastern city that has become a symbol of Kyiv’s defiance of Russia, raged with no end in sight.
* Fighting also rages further south around Avdiivka, a town near the Russian-held regional capital of Donetsk.
* Authorities in Russian-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine said a total of seven civilians were killed in two separate Ukrainian artillery strikes, Russian news agencies reported.
* Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.
* China’s Xi Jinping expressed willingness to speak to Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, the head of the European Union said, after French President Macron urged Beijing to talk sense to Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Xi, who has sought to position China as a potential mediator in the conflict but is seen by the West as favouring Russia, responded by saying he hoped Moscow and Kyiv could hold peace negotiations as soon as possible.
* However, an adviser to Russian President Putin rated the chances of peace talks starting this year at “zero”.
* A top Ukrainian official ruled out talks with Moscow about territory until it withdraws all troops, pushing back on a colleague who had touted the idea of negotiations to resolve the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
* A European Union plan to send 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine is being held up as member states argue over how far spending for the plan will stay within the EU, diplomats said.
* Russia’s refusal to give consular access to detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is “inexcusable,” the White House said.
“We are ready, we have to do it, the sooner, the better. The enemy must be chased away. At the moment we are waiting for the weather to change, the mud is an obstacle.” – Naza, a 21-year-old unit commander of soldiers manning trenches near Bakhmut, said of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive.
* “If the Kyiv offensive fails, the West will be short of weapons and at that point Russia will be able to mobilise 400,000 men for the final attack.” -Dmitry Suslov, a Putin adviser.