HomeLatest NewsU.S. Defense Leaders Paint Upbeat Picture On Ukraine After Pessimistic Pentagon Leaks

U.S. Defense Leaders Paint Upbeat Picture On Ukraine After Pessimistic Pentagon Leaks

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Pentagon leaders did not mention the pessimistic assessments in leaked Pentagon papers about the war effort at their Friday meeting with Western allies who support Ukraine. Instead, they tried to paint a positive picture of the upcoming counteroffensive.

The leaks were downplayed, as they cast doubt on Ukraine’s military’s capability to gain in its planned counteroffensive. According to a leaked U.S. Intelligence Assessment obtained by The Washington Post, Ukraine could fall “well behind” its original goals of retaking Russian occupied areas due to the challenges it faces in massing troops and ammunition.

Early February’s assessment reportedly noted “significant force generation and sustainment deficiencies” as well the likelihood of “modest gains in territory.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met with the members of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (a U.S. led coalition of nations that provides support to Ukraine), dismissed the impact at the start of a Friday press briefing.

I would like to say a few words regarding the reports about the unauthorized disclosures of sensitive and classified U.S. materials. This is a matter I take very seriously. We will continue to work with our valued allies and partners, in an atmosphere of friendship and respect. When I discussed this matter with our partners and allies, I was struck by their unity and commitment to reject attempts to divide us. Nothing will break our unity or lessen our determination.

Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to comment on the negative assessments and instead said he was “confident”, in the ability of the Ukrainian forces to succeed.

I won’t comment on any future operations or the content of any leaks. I will, however, say that we were committed to providing the equipment and training for up to 9 brigades (armored brigades and armored mech-brigades) to conduct offensive and defensive operations. These brigades have been trained, manned, equipped and are ready for combat. We will continue to support these units wherever and whenever Ukraine decides to use them. I have great confidence in their ability to succeed.

Both documents emphasized that the group was focused on providing Ukraine air defense capabilities — something the leaks cast an alarming light. According to a document dated 28 February, Ukraine will run out of missiles by April 13 and May 3, respectively. A leaked document painted a bleak picture of Ukraine’s “FLOT” or front-line troops. It stated:

By May 23, [Ukraine]’s ability to provide medium-range air defense for the FLOT to protect it will be totally reduced. The Ukraine is estimated to be able to withstand 2-3 additional wave attacks. As the 1st Layer Defense ammunition runs out, the 2nd and third layer expenditure rates will rise, decreasing the ability to defend from Russian aerial attacks at all altitudes.

Breitbart News also reviewed other documents that stated the Russian Air Force was largely intact, and had been kept at bay by Ukrainian Air Defense. This could change if Ukraine’s air defenses were degraded.

Milley stressed the importance of air defence in his remarks made on Friday.

Because of the effectiveness of the Ukrainian air defence system, the Russians are hesitant to enter Ukraine. The air defense system is critical right now. It must be robust, rigorous, deep and layered, from low altitudes to high altitudes, from short to medium to long ranges. The frontline forces, the Ukrainian frontline forces, need to be safeguarded.

“That is the most critical, important military task at this time. This was the main theme for this day: air defense.

He also repeated the Biden administration’s unwillingness to provide Ukraine F-16 fighter planes despite multiple requests from Ukraine.

“There is a long time to prepare — for pilot training, etc., and Russians have significant air power.” To take the Ukrainian Air Force and build it up to the Russian Air Force level, it would require a lot of effort from many countries. These policy decisions may be made later on, but we will see how it goes,” Milley explained.

Air defense is the most urgent need right now.

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