Zelenskyy was not warned of US secret docs leak: Report
WASHINGTON: Washington did not warn Kyiv about the top-secret documents leaked to internet chat rooms – containing sensitive information about Ukraine’s war effort – before the news broke in the media last month, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Washington Post.
The embarrassing security breach revealed US unease about a coming counteroffensive by Kyiv’s forces against Russian troops as well as concerns about Ukrainian air defences.
“I did not receive information from the White House or the Pentagon beforehand,” Zelenskyy told the newspaper in an interview in Kyiv on Monday (May 1).
“We did not have that information. I personally did not. It’s definitely a bad story,” he said, calling the situation “unprofitable”.
Speaking on CNN, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder would not confirm or deny Zelenskyy’s claim, saying only that Washington remains “committed to working very closely with Ukraine and our international allies to ensure that they have the security assistance they need to be able to defend their country.”
Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old IT specialist with the US Air Force National Guard, is accused of posting classified material online in the most damaging government leak in a decade.
Last month, he was arrested and charged on two counts over the breach, which the Pentagon has said poses a “very serious risk” to national security.
“It is not beneficial to the reputation of the White House, and I believe it is not beneficial to the reputation of the United States,” Zelenskyy told the Post.
The documents also contained information on Russian and Ukrainian troop casualties and equipment losses, details about NATO observation flights over the Black Sea, and accounts which point to American surveillance of close partner Ukraine.
“Anything that informs our enemy in advance in one way or another is definitely a minus for us,” Zelenskyy told the Post, while refusing to confirm or deny the veracity of any of the exposed material.
According to the newspaper, Zelenskyy said he must prioritise the larger war effort over his personal feelings on the lack of communication by the United States, which has contributed billions of dollars in support since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
“I cannot risk our state,” he told the newspaper.
“Where I can speak frankly, I do it. But there are high risks,” he added.
Teixeira is suspected of posting the documents, some dated as recently as early March, to a private chat group on the social media platform Discord over a period of months.
Some of the documents later appeared on other sites, including Twitter, 4Chan and Telegram, with some also showing Washington had apparently spied on allies Israel and South Korea.