MELITOPOL, April 7. /TASS/. The documents that have appeared on social networks about US and NATO's classified plans for building up the Ukrainian armed forces ahead of an offensive due this spring may be part of a disinformation campaign, Vladimir Rogov, the leader of the movement We are Together with Russia told TASS on Friday.
"We see there [in the documents] an estimated 48,000 to 50,000 troops that can be gathered, but I think this is a classical disinformation operation, being conducted to mislead us, to make us think that they [Ukrainian troops] are not ready yet and we can relax. <...> Part of what is said there may be true, but as far as the timing is concerned, it's definitely not so," Rogov said.
He believes that the leak is related with the buildup of significant Ukrainian forces in recent weeks in the Zaporozhye area and in the immediate vicinity of the engagement line near Orekhov.
"In my opinion, it is an attempt to make us think that an offensive may be possible only after sometime, and not within the next few days. On the other hand, the situation on the frontline points to the opposite: equipment continues to arrive, equipment is ready, and enough militants have been trained," Rogov noted. He pointed out that large amounts of fuel and lubricants being delivered to the engagement line meant "that this equipment will not remain idle, but will go on the offensive."
Earlier, The New York Times cited US President Joe Biden's administration as saying that the Pentagon had launched an investigation into the leak of secret documents concerning the US and NATO plans to prepare Ukraine’s armed forces for an offensive against the Russian army. Numerous documents disclosing the details of schedules of arms deliveries and the strength of military units were leaked to social media outlets, such as Twitter and Telegram. The documents include a timetable of preparations, such as the delivery of equipment and ammunition, for a spring counterattack by Ukraine’s nine brigades, which are being trained and equipped by the United States and its allies. According to the leaked documents, six brigades were to be ready by March 31, and another three, by April 30. No data concerning the three brigades being prepared by Ukraine itself were mentioned.
On April 4, Rogov told TASS that the Ukrainian army might begin active operations in the coming days, which may look like either reconnaissance in force or an offensive in the Zaporozhye Region. According to his estimates, in the event of an offensive, the Ukrainian army, due to their lack of resources, will avoid fighting in the cities and instead try to break through towards the Sea of Azov east of Melitopol in order to cut the overland corridor to Crimea. On March 27, Rogov told TASS that the Ukrainian army had already amassed up to 75,000 troops in the Zaporozhye area after an attempted offensive on March 23, thwarted by Russian forces. Ukraine lost as many as 400 soldiers.