U.S. intelligence has played a “significant” role in Ukraine’s once quiet but now widely praised counteroffensive, a member of Ukraine’s security service tells Newsy.
The source believes that Ukrainians first struck bridges in the southern region of Kherson, where Russian troops amassed, so that Ukraine could hinder them from resupplying or crossing the Dnipro River to travel north to the Kharkiv region, as a major counterattack started.
"They were running like mice," said one Ukrainian Air Assault soldier. "They were running and abandoning everything — vehicles, their own men. They even shot one of their own who was wounded just to get away."
Two former senior U.S. intelligence officials tell Newsy that intelligence sharing remains “robust,” and includes insight into the locations of Russian units. The U.S. has provided intelligence that helped Ukraine kill Russian generals and sink the prized Russian warship, the Moskva.
Officials in the Biden administration don’t want to discuss specific intelligence assessments, for fear they could jeopardize Ukrainian security or military operations. A senior U.S. defense official said this week that the U.S. provided information on conditions, but the Ukrainian military and political leadership decided how to conduct the counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s lightning advance has had a major impact in Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson says a mobilization to replace lost and exhausted troops is not on the agenda and the Russian president is aware of all developments:
“The president is in constant contact, we can say, 24-hour contact with the defense minister and all the chiefs," said Dmitry Peskov, a Russian presidential spokesman. "It can't be any other way during the special military operation. The special military operation is ongoing and will continue until it reaches all of its goals."
Jeffrey Edmonds, the former Russia director on the White House’s National Security Council, tells Newsy Putin’s position weakens the longer that Russia experiences losses, and “the more he loses, and knows he [is] losing, the higher the risk he will escalate in some way.”
"He does not know what to do and he will strike here even more," said Serhii, a Kharkiv resident. "Just on infrastructure. He will strike so we don't have water, electricity, to create more chaos and intimidate us. But he will not succeed because we will survive, and Putin will soon croak!"
With Ukraine’s swift military gains — some 6,000 square kilometers, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — come honors for military intelligence officers.
“Your operations are not usually written about in the news, but they will definitely be written about in military science textbooks," Zelenskyy said. "Your successes are often quiet and imperceptible to our people, but always painful and tangible to our enemy.”
According to British intelligence, Russian forces that hastily retreated from the northern Kharkiv region were from one of Russia’s most prestigious armies, meant to defend Moscow and lead potential counterattacks in the event of war with NATO. It will likely take years for Russia to rebuild that capability.