New Leaked Documents Show Extensive Disputes Among Russian Officials

The depths of the infighting within the Russian government appear wider and deeper than previously understood, judging by the recently discovered cache of classified intelligence documents that have been leaked online.

The additional document, which did not appear in the 53-page set that came to public attention online last week, describes the Russian government's dispute over the number of dead and wounded in the Ukraine war with domestic intelligence services. accused the military of covering up the scale of casualties suffered by Russia.

The new batch, which contains 27 pages, reinforces how deeply American spy agencies have penetrated nearly every aspect of the Russian intelligence apparatus and military command structure. It also shows that breaches by American intelligence agencies could contain far more material than previously understood.

In one document, American intelligence officials said that Russia's main domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, had “accused” the country's Ministry of Defense of “obscuring Russian casualties in Ukraine.” The findings highlight the “continued reluctance of military officials to move bad news up the chain of command,” they said.

The February 28 entry in a document with a series of updates about the war in Ukraine and other global hot spots appears to be based on electronic intercepts collected by American intelligence services.

Any disclosure of classified documents has the potential to reveal additional intelligence gathering methods and means. The document does not appear to contain much, if any, information from human sources, indicating that the original whistleblower may not have had access to such more classified material. Instead, much of the material labeled comes from intercepting communications.

Overall, the document outlines several key reasons why, many analysts believe, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has failed to secure a military victory in Ukraine after more than 13 months of war.

Among them: infighting and recriminations between Russian agencies responsible for various aspects of the war, including the FSB and the Ministry of Defence. The leaked entry on the casualty toll provides little context for the intelligence officials' findings, but reports that the FSB questioned the Ministry of Defense's own casualty figures in discussions within the Russian government.

FSB officials, the document said, argued that the number of dead and wounded among the Russian National Guard, Wagner mercenary troops or fighters fielded by Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the staunch Russian southern Russian republic of Chechnya, was not included. The various combat forces the Kremlin has deployed in Ukraine have at times acted with opposing objectives, further complicating Russia's military endeavours.

The FSB “calculates the true number of Russians injured and killed in action at close to 110,000,” the document said.

The document does not detail the casualty figures which the Defense Ministry has circulated within the government. The last time the ministry publicly disclosed the death toll was in September, when the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, said that 5,937 Russian soldiers had died since the war began.

American officials had previously estimated Russian losses at around 200,000 troops. Another leaked document reported that Russia had suffered 189,500 to 223,000 casualties in February, including up to 43,000 killed in action, compared to 124,500 to 131,000 Ukrainian casualties, with up to 17,500 killed in action.

The new documents also provide new details about a very public altercation in February in which Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the business mogul who runs Wagner's troop, accused Russian military officials of withholding much-needed ammunition from his fighters. Mr Putin attempted to resolve the dispute privately by summoning Mr Prigozhin and Mr Shoigu to a meeting believed to have taken place on 22 February, one document reported.

“The meeting almost certainly involved, at least in part, Prigozhin's public accusations and the rise of tensions with Shoygu,” the document says, using an alternate transliteration of the minister's name.

New documents are shared in the form of photos, and some pages are missing. Displayed in full includes material from the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the intelligence directorate of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

Material provided to The New York Times was posted on one of Discord's servers where the first set of Pentagon intelligence documents eventually appeared. US officials said the documents were genuine but warned that some had been tampered with. The document may also contain information that is out of date or inaccurate.

The Times explained the new set of documents to several US officials. While the officials did not dispute the information, they said they could not, and would not, independently verify the documents.

One slide, apparently produced by the military's Joint Staff and dated February 23, concluded that Russia had failed to disrupt the massive flow of Western weapons and equipment to Ukraine since the start of the war, and asserted that the Kremlin's battered military would do so. can't change that any time soon.

“Over the next 6 months, Russia's economic challenges and declining conventional capabilities will likely further constrain its efforts, creating a largely permissive environment for continuing lethal aid deliveries,” the document said.

The new material also includes a six-page document dated February 23 from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence called the “Surveillance Report”.

Rather than finalizing intelligence conclusions, the Watch Report compiles multiple accounts that came to intelligence services hours before distribution, some of them from a single source, often without in-depth context.

Government officials reading the Watch Report know that some material will prove correct, but other information will, in time, prove incomplete, according to the former official.

For example, Watch Report said Russian foreign intelligence “reported” that China had agreed to provide lethal assistance to Russia, citing communications intercepts. It is not clear from the documents whether China has informed Russia it is sending aid, or if Russia is spying on China.

On March 3, several days after the Watch Report was circulated within the US government, NBC News reported, and The Times insists that what the US has learned about plans to obtain lethal aid from China “was obtained from Russian officials”.

But a senior administration official warned on Wednesday that weeks later, there was no indication that China had decided to provide lethal aid to Russia, which at least suggests that Russian intelligence about China's intentions may be flawed.

Eric Schmitt reporting contribution.