Ukraine is preparing defence lines in case Bakhmut was to fall


  • As per the U.S. assessment, Russia could exhaust its units in campaign to take over Donbas Oblast
  • Washington warned that Ukraine's medium-range air defense could be 'completely reduced by May'
  • The documents shows the U.S. has bleak hopes for Ukraine's anticipated spring counteroffensive

The devastating war between Russia and Ukraine, which began in February 2022, could last beyond 2023, according to leaked Pentagon documents.

One such document -- "Battle for the Donbas Region Likely Heading for a Stalemate Throughout 2023," dated Feb. 23, 2023 -- shows the United States' analysis of the war. The file was one of the many classified Pentagon materials that leaked online last week.

"Russia's grinding campaign of attrition in the Donbas region is likely heading toward a stalemate, thwarting Moscow's goal to capture the entire region in 2023," the document read, per Reuters, which has viewed the leaked documents.

"These tactics have diminished Russian forces and munition stockpiles to a level that, barring an unforeseen recovery, can exhaust Russian units and frustrate Moscow's war aims, resulting in a protracted war beyond 2023," as per the assessment.

The assessment echoes suggestions made by the U.S. in other documents also leaked online. In papers dated February and March and viewed by CNN, Washington warned that Ukraine's medium-range air defenses used to protect troops in combat zones will likely be "completely reduced by May 23." In that case, the U.S. said Ukraine would lose the ability to launch counteroffensives on the ground.

Furthermore, documents viewed by The Washington Post showed that U.S. officials have bleak hopes for Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive this spring, adding that the operation will only result in "modest territorial gains" for Kyiv.

The International Business Times could not independently verify the documents. While American officials have acknowledged that the leaked documents are files from the Department of Defense, they noted that some of the information appeared to have been altered.

The documents, which have not been previously disclosed, are among a trove of highly classified Pentagon materials shared across Discord, Telegram and Twitter last week. Little is known about the source of the leak.

The U.S. government has begun investigating the leak of the Pentagon documents. The Justice Department, in collaboration with the Pentagon, is also scrambling to determine what damage the leaks have caused, whether any sources and methods have been compromised and whether more leaks might be on the way.

A special Ukrainian unit collects Russian soldiers' bodies from the battlefield