Intel Leaks Confirm Sabotage Attacks In Belarus, Russia Were Conducted By Ukrainian Military Agents
More information from the trove of highly classified Pentagon documents leaked online continues to confirm what in many instances was already strongly suspected, but remained unproven.
“Ukrainian agents have pursued drone attacks inside Belarus and Russia, contrary to U.S. and Western wishes, and leaders in Kyiv have considered further targets outside Ukraine, according to a batch of leaked U.S. documents that appear to expose national security secrets,” NBC writes after analyzing the batch of 50 that it has in its possession.
AP/VOA: In this photo taken by an anonymous source, oil storage facilities burn in Bryansk, Russia, April 25, 2022.
“Two documents appear to show Ukraine launching operations inside other countries, though some allied nations have said any such actions might cause them to reconsider their ongoing support for Kyiv,” NBC continues.
Back in late February into March especially, Russia had seen multiple instances of swarms of drones breach its airspace spanning multiple days. These targeted an oil facility, air bases, as well as civilian infrastructure across various cities, villages and military areas.
Additionally, drone attacks in Russia’s Belgorod region have come semi-regularly over the course of the past months. The Russian defense ministry for example, stated of one attack at the end of February, “The Kyiv regime attempted to use unmanned aerial vehicles to attack civilian infrastructure in the Krasnodar region and the Adygea Republic.”
One of the more brazen of the cross-border sabotage incidents was widely reported at the time, and resulted in damage to a large Russian spy plane parked at the Machulishchy airbase in Minsk Oblast in Belarus. A large explosion had rocked the base. It was believed at the time that pro-Ukrainian Belarusian opposition operatives reportedly used a small explosive-laden drone to carry out the targeted attack of the stationary A-50 surveillance plane.
The leaked US documents confirm what minimally astute observers might have surmised at the time: this attack inside Belarus back in February wasn’t just some freelance sabotage by local “anti-war activists” — it was an operation of the Ukraine military (SBU) pic.twitter.com/v8UaP6KhZD
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 10, 2023
The episode is referenced in the online trove of leaked documents, as NBC describes in its Tuesday report:
One document, marked “Top Secret,” notes two separate attacks allegedly orchestrated by Kyiv that appear to have minimally damaged two Russian targets outside of Ukraine: a military airfield outside Minsk, Belarus, and a gas compressor station in the Moscow suburbs.
In the first instance, officials with Ukraine’s Security Service, Kyiv’s main intelligence agency, assessed that their agents in Belarus had disobeyed orders and attacked a Russian surveillance aircraft at a Belarusian airfield on Feb. 26, according to the document.
The document alleges the agents used a quadcopter drone and caused “minor damage” to the plane, a RUS A-5OU, which the Russian state-owned weapons developer Rostec calls a “flying radar” that is capable of operating as a mobile command center.
As a result of the attack, President Lukashenko had warned this he could send his troops into Ukraine if Belarusian territory kept coming under direct threat.
Claims Swirl Around Supposed Strike On Russian A-50 Radar Jet In Belarus https://t.co/j1me5JQZmr
— Robert Farley (@drfarls) February 27, 2023
The sabotage incident also caused Belarus to lash out angrily at Washington, and generally heightened the potential for broader war given the rhetoric:
A week later, according to the state news agency Belta, Lukashenko said that a “terrorist” trained by Washington and Kyiv had orchestrated the attack and that “more than 20 accomplices who are in Belarus have been detained. The rest are hiding.”
“If you think that by throwing down this challenge, you will drag us into a war tomorrow,” Lukaschenko said in comments aimed at the U.S. and Ukraine, “you are mistaken.”
Concerning the leaked Pentagon report, the angle of Ukrainian agents acting “contrary to US and Western wishes” is interesting. It may be that including this detail in a now leaked US intelligence document could be an attempt to inject some ‘plausible deniability’ into the reporting surrounding the sabotage attacks.
In short, while Washington might officially be dissuading the Ukrainians from such risky attacks, it may also be that the Pentagon is quietly willing to look the other way when they do occur. The important thing for Biden administration decision-makers is to distance themselves from the more brazen and controversial of Ukraine’s tactics, particularly the ‘dirty war’ style operations that could drag NATO into direct conflict with Russian forces.
Tue, 04/11/2023 – 18:40