Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Plan was Leaked to Russia Ahead of Time, Says Zelensky

KYIV, UKRAINE - 2024/02/25: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the
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Russia knew Ukraine’s counteroffensive plans before they began in 2023, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky said in frank admissions that came alongside a rare discussion of military casualties in the two-year war.

Ukraine’s top-secret war plan was leaked to Russia last year, presumably a contributing factor to what has been broadly accepted as a failed Spring counteroffensive in 2023, but this year Ukraine is creating decoy plans to keep the Kremlin guessing, President Zelensky has said.

Speaking at an event on Sunday commemorating the second anniversary of the relaunch of the now ten-year-old invasion and occupation of Ukraine by Russia, Zelensky revealed for the first time Russian intelligence had managed to acquire plans for its much-vaunted counteroffensive against the occupiers last year. He said: “Our counteroffensive action plans were on the Kremlin’s table before the counteroffensive actions began”.

The President’s office confirmed the off-the-cuff remark to Agence France Presse after the presser, telling them he was specifically talking about Russia having obtained “sensitive military planning information”.

Ukraine is already talking up a new counteroffensive for 2024. Apparently resigned to the fact leaks will happen whether they’re fought or not, Zelensky said his administration was taking counter-measures. The country is creating a series of decoy plans so Russia wouldn’t know which to prepare for, he said, telling the room: “We have a plan, a clear plan. Several plans will be prepared because of information leaks.”

The fact a counteroffensive was coming last year was never a secret, indeed Ukraine boasted that a Spring assault was coming for months ahead of time, and then as Spring turned into Summer and the long-discussed counter-attack finally arrived. A wide variety of reasons for the failure to take back any meaningful amount of territory from Russia despite the nation’s military having been expensively re-organised along NATO principles and with billions of dollars of Western weapons and vehicles.

Among them was the Russians having had enough time to dig in and lay mines by the time the much-delayed counteroffensive began, and a year without farmers working the land allowing weeds to take over vast areas, making infantry manoeuvre difficult. Most to blame, according to Kyiv, was Ukraine’s Western partners for not delivering the right weapons, enough weapons, and not delivering them fast enough.

As well as discussing military planning leaks on Sunday, Zelensky also made rare remarks on Ukrainian military casualties, claiming 31,000 soldiers had been killed in the service of his nation in the past two years. This figure is remarkable not only because it has been articulated at all, but also for how comparatively low it is. Germany’s NTV notes the U.S. military estimates Ukrainian military dead to be something like two or three times that at between 70,000 and 90,000, and total casualties including wounded at up to 200,000.

Speaking at the Sunday press conference, Zelensky dismissed casualty numbers higher than official Ukrainian figures as lies, and the work of “Putin and his deceitful circle”.

Something Ukraine does publish frequently is how many Russian “invaders” it claims to have eliminated, with a recent bulletin asserting their death toll at 400,000, as well as nearly 19,000 tanks and armoured vehicles. These figures are somewhat higher than those estimated by the London-based military think tank the International Institute for Strategic Studies, for instance, which thinks the number is closer to 12,000, including 3,000 tanks.


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