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New Intel Leak Exposes Russian Government Infighting – NYT

The body of a Russian soldier being carried in Ukraine's Kharkiv region. Sergiy Kozlov / AFP

A fresh batch of leaked U.S. intelligence documents made public on Thursday has revealed infighting between Russia's powerful Federal Security Service (FSB) and its Defense Ministry over the true scale of Russian casualties in Ukraine, The New York Times reported. 

The new documents came to light just days after a major leak of classified intelligence from the Pentagon revealed details of Ukraine's plans for a counteroffensive against Russia, as well as secret assessments of U.S. allies.

The latest leak includes material from the U.S. National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Directorate for Intelligence.

The documents reveal the FSB's behind-closed-doors accusations that officials in Russia’s Defense Ministry have been underreporting Russian troop casualties in Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The FSB has also been critical of the Defense Ministry’s death toll not including casualties suffered by the Russian National Guard, the Wagner Group, or fighters under the command of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the leak revealed.

In September, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed in Ukraine since the war began. No subsequent death toll from the Russian side has been made public since then. 

The FSB “calculated the actual number of Russians wounded and killed in action was closer to 110,000,” one document cited by The New York Times reads.

Official U.S. estimates of Russian casualties over the past year total around 200,000. However, documents made public in the earlier leak put this figure somewhere between 189,500 and 223,000, including as many as 43,000 dead.

While The New York Times was unable to independently verify the documents, U.S. officials consulted on the matter did not dispute the information revealed. 

The security breach, which has embarrassed Washington and shaken its allies, has given observers a rare insight into how the Pentagon's intelligence gathering works in Russia. Most significantly, it appears to show that U.S. intelligence has penetrated nearly every branch of the Russian military including the General Staff, the Defense Ministry, Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, and the notorious mercenary group Wagner.

The Kremlin said on Monday that it was “analyzing” the materials.

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