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5 Things the Leaked Pentagon Documents Reveal About Russia’s Army

The Russian Defense Ministry building in Moscow. Mikhail Metzel / TASS

The leaked classified U.S. documents that rocked Washington and its allies this week have provided a rare glimpse into the Defense Department’s intelligence on Russia’s offensive on Ukraine.

The leak raises concerns that Russia could change its methods of communication to conceal its planning and try to ferret out human confidential sources that formed the backbone of the Pentagon documents.

Ukraine last week dismissed the leaked information as based on “a large amount of fictitious information” and on Monday played down a report that the leak forced Kyiv to change some plans for an anticipated counteroffensive.

The Kremlin said Monday it was “analyzing” the leaked documents.

Here’s what the estimated 100 leaked Pentagon documents have revealed about the Russian military:

— Up to 43,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in action as of early 2023, with an estimated total casualty count between 189,500-223,000. 

That compares with the up to 17,500 Ukrainian soldiers killed in action and 124,500-131,000 casualties reported in the U.S. documents.

Russia’s death toll appeared to have been altered to a fraction of the original number before it was circulated on pro-Russian channels on the popular messaging app Telegram.

— Russia’s military appears to acknowledge its setbacks, with the General Staff’s National Defense Control Center (NDCC) reporting in February that its forces in eastern Ukraine had “decreased combat capability.”

— The U.S. intercepts included specific Russian attack plans and dates for Ukrainian infrastructure and military targets, including power plants, bridges, a drone storage area, an air defense gun and Ukrainian soldiers.

— A top-secret document contained the Russian General Staff’s detailed strategy to combat NATO tanks due to arrive in Ukraine in April with long-, medium- and short-range “fire zones” covered by specific weapons and unit types as well as by training Russian soldiers on the tanks’ vulnerabilities.

— U.S. intelligence appears to have penetrated nearly every Russian military body including the General Staff, the Defense Ministry and the GRU military intelligence agency, as well as the private mercenary group Wagner.

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