South Korea has branded a trove of leaked documents purportedly detailing Ukraine’s war efforts as fake.
The classified intelligence files contained claims that the US was snooping on the South Korean government, as well as other allies.
But President Yoon Suk Yeol’s office said the idea that American spies had monitored senior officials in Seoul was ‘an absurd false suspicion.’
The South Korean president said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has already agreed with his counterpart Lee Jong-Sup that ‘a significant number of the documents in question were fabricated.’
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin agreed with his office’s assessment that many of the documents are fake.
This document appears to show the state of Ukraine’s air defenses in February and in May, when it is anticipated they will be badly depleted
South Korea’s Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo added: ‘The two countries have the same assessment that much of the information disclosed is altered.’
He provided no further details, and Pentagon officials have not yet issued their readout of the call.
But Britain’s Ministry of Defense appeared to back Seoul’s claims, saying the leaks had ‘demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy.’
‘Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread disinformation,’ a British government spokesman said.
Some files reportedly show concern among top South Korean national security officials that arms, manufactured by their country might end up being used in Ukraine.
Despite US pressure, South Korea is among the world’s largest weapons exporters, but it has not approved the sale or donation of weapons to Kyiv’s armed forces.
One intercepted memo outlined how two senior presidential advisers discussed how to deal with US pressure to help arm the Ukrainian military.
An aide is quoted as saying shells could be sent to Poland to avoid appearing to have given in to the US or breaching long-standing South Korean policy.
Publicly, officials in South Korea have pointed to domestic laws forbidding them from sending arms directly into war zones.
Apart from including details on weapons and training for Ukraine, the papers also touch upon China, the Middle East and Africa, as well as America’s relationship with Israel.
Because according to the leaked documents, Ukraine’s stockpile is rapidly depleting, which in turn, opens up a window for Russian planes to attack
The intelligence breach could have a drastic impact upon the landscape of the conflict in Ukraine. Biden, left, is pictured meeting Ukrainian President Zelensky in February 2023
Investigators at the Department of Justice have opened a criminal probe into the possible identity of the leaker.
They have refused to rule out Russia being behind the embarrassing security breach, but it is widely thought that a US source helped to publish the documents online.
It is the most significant intelligence leak since the WikiLeaks case in 2013, when more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the self-styled transparency platform.
Although the public response is new, dozens of photographs of the documents have been circulating on social media platforms and messaging services, including Twitter, Telegram and Discord for several weeks.
On Monday, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby admitted that some of the files had been ‘doctored.’
‘We’re still working through the validity of all the documents that we know are out there,’ he said.
Oleksiy Danilov, one of the most senior Ukrainian defense officials, moved to downplay the leak and the risk posed to their troops on the battlefield.
‘The opinion of people who have nothing to do with this, do not interest us,’ the head of the country’s national security and defense council said.
‘The circle of people who possess information is extremely restricted,’ he added.
What have we learned from the leaks so far?
- Emerging from the muddy winter season, Ukraine is worn down after more than a year of war, and the US believes it will struggle to launch an effective counter-offensive.
- The Ukrainian soldiers are munitions supplies needed to retake key ground.
- However, US intelligence claims to have infiltrated Russia’s military and can warn Ukraine of upcoming attacks.
- On top of security concerns, Russia’s military remains battered by the failed offensive.
- Months before a Russian Su-27 clipped an American reaper drone over the Black Sea, a Russian fighter came close to shooting down a British recon plane in September near Crimea.
- The Russian Wagner Group of mercenaries reportedly approached Turkey to buy weapons and equipment for its operations in Ukraine and Mali.
- The US reportedly asked South Korea to send aid to Ukraine.
- There are 97 special forces personnel from NATO countries in Ukraine, including 50 from Britain and 14 from the US.
- Separately, the leaders of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, reportedly encouraged citizens and officials to protest proposed judicial reforms.
- Despite being a close American ally, Egypt also secretly planned to ship 40,000 rockets to Russia.