Images of what appears to be the Daily written brief for the “Russia/Ukraine Joint Staff J3/J4/J5” popped up on the Donbass Devushka yesterday and has not created much of a stir. Donbass Devushka has four of the documents on line. They appear authentic. One is classified as “SECRET/REL TO FIN, UKR, FVEY, NATO” and is date 28 FEB 23. (You can see the documents for your self at this link.)
The phrase, “REL TO FIN, UKR, FVEY, NATO” means that this document is available to Finland, Ukraine, the Five Eyes Nations (i.e., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the members of NATO.
The Biden Administration is not happy. Mediate, repeating a NY Times article, reports:
According to Biden administration officials, classified war documents have been leaked on social media that present U.S. and NATO’s secret plan to assist Ukraine’s military before it an offensive against Russian troops, per a report in The New York Times.
The plan contains photographed charts that outline troop and battalion strengths and anticipated weapon deliveries. It also shows the expenditures of HIMARS, a long-range artillery rocket system, and how quickly the Ukrainian military is using its munitions that previously were not shared by the Pentagon.
Other documents have columns that list Ukrainian troops’schedules from January to April. It also includes a summarized assembly of 12 combat brigades, nine of which are trained by U.S. and NATO allies. The documents note that the speed of delivering the equipment would affect brigades’ readiness and training as three are expected to be engaged by April 30.
The document I saw at Donbas is replete with DOD acronyms. One of the most interesting is BLUF, which means Bottom Line Up Front. What is that bottom line from 28 February 2023?
Based on known contributions, training pathways, and projections (12) combat credible BDEs can be generated for the Spring Counteroffensive, (3) internally by Ukraine [not depicted], and (9) are trained and equipped by US, Allied & Partner (US/A&P). Of the (9) BDEs, (6) will be ready by 31MAR, and the final (3) BDEs by 30APR. Equipment delivery times will impact training and readiness in order to meet this timeline. Total equipment required for (9) BDES is 253 x Tanks, 381 x Mech, 480 x Motor, and 147 x Artillery plus delivery of 571 x U.S. Up-Armored HMMWVs.
If this is true, then we know that on February 28 the U.S./NATO military planners saw 30 April as the earliest date when the Ukrainian force, with U.S. and NATO supplied equipment, would be ready to launch the Spring Counter Offensive with 12 Brigades (aka BDE). U.S. Brigades have a troop strength between 2,000 and 5,000 men. That means the planned Ukrainian offensive troop strength could be between 24,000 and 60,000 men.
What is not discussed in the briefing are the logistics requirements required to support such an offensive. As Ukrainian forces move forward they are likely to be heavily engaged by Russian forces on the land and in the air. They will need to be resupplied in the midst of combat with ammunition and fuel. They will also need a system in place to get the wounded off the battlefield(s?) and back to field hospitals. These are tasks that have been very difficult for Ukraine to accomplish in combat operations as of today.
Also important to recognize that a lot of water has gone under the bridge since this briefing. Ukrainian forces trying to hang on to Bakhmut and other areas along the Donbass front have been savaged with casualties and the Russians have launched missile and air strikes on Ukrainian supply warehouses and troop assembly areas. Russia is moving forward steadily and Ukraine is trying to withdraw its remaining forces from the Bakhmut meat grinder. This is just another way of saying that the 28 February timeline may have been disrupted.
I think it is highly likely that Russia’s intelligence service has assets within the NATO ranks that are providing more recent information of this kind to the Russian military commanders and that they have a pretty good idea of the force they will face and where it will attack. If they do not then Western claims that the Russian military is inept will be verified.
This document, if true, removes any doubt that the United States and its NATO partners are involved heavily in helping Ukraine plan its upcoming offensive. What puzzles me is why the U.S., NATO and Ukraine are talking so openly about the upcoming Counter Offensive. Normally, professional military planners keep their plans SECRET and use deception to mask their true intentions. Well, these documents are classified SECRET, which is what you would expect. What does not make sense is that so many Western leaders are flapping their gums about the “SECRET” counter offensive.
One of the documents (not on the Donbass Devushka site), according to the NY TImes, gave casualty figures as of 1 March 2023 of 17,000 Russian KIA and 70,000 Ukrainian KIA. But military analysts talking to the Times claim, “that some original documents which document Ukrainian and Russian casualties have been modified behind a Moscow disinformation effort.”
So, if this is nothing but Russian disinformation why is the Biden Administration pressing the social media giants to censor it? I think the answer is self-evident — the documents are legit and NATO is leaking like a sieve and the Biden folks are in a panic.
Let me conclude with a question that should inspire discussion — if a source freely leaked this to Evan Gershkovich or Julian Assange or Sy Hersh, would they be guilty of “espionage? You know my answer. What do you think? Do citizens have a right to know?
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