Infighting Among Russian Officials Worse Than Previously Known, New Leaked Docs Show

Russian president Vladimir Putin and defense minister Sergei Shoigu / Getty Images
April 13, 2023

A new cache of classified intelligence documents leaked online shows that infighting among Russian officials over the country's war in Ukraine is worse than previously understood.

The new 27-page set—separate from the 53-page intelligence document that leaked last week—shows Russian agencies "feuding over the count of the dead and wounded in the Ukraine war," the New York Times reported. Russia's Federal Security Service has "accused" the Defense Ministry "of obfuscating Russian casualties in Ukraine."

The finding highlights "the continuing reluctance of military officials to convey bad news up the chain of command," American intelligence officials said in the document. The leaked intelligence also "reinforces how deeply American spy agencies have penetrated nearly every aspect of the Russian intelligence apparatus and military command structure," the Times reported.

The documents obtained by the Times were posted on the same Discord servers on which last week's set of Pentagon papers appeared. U.S. officials, when presented with the documents by the Times, "did not dispute" the information but declined to "independently verify the documents." President Joe Biden assured reporters that his administration is investigating the matter.

"There is a full-blown investigation going on with the intelligence community and Justice Department and they are getting close," Biden said Thursday while in Ireland. "I don't have an answer for you."

The Times on Thursday identified the leaker of at least the first batch of documents as 21-year-old National Guardsman Jack Teixeira. How Teixeira gained access to the documents is unknown.

The materials also record new information about Russian president Vladimir Putin's attempt to personally resolve a dispute between military officials and a paramilitary organization, as well as shed light on Russia's struggle to slow Western supplies flowing into Ukraine, the Times reported:

One slide that appears to have been produced by the military's Joint Staff and dated Feb. 23 concludes that Russia has failed to disrupt the massive flow of Western arms and equipment into Ukraine since the start of the war, and asserts that the Kremlin's battered military will not be able to change that anytime soon.

"During the next six months, Russia's economic challenges and degraded conventional capabilities very likely will further impede its efforts, creating a mostly permissive environment for continued lethal aid deliveries," the document said.