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10/04/2023 | New report assesses record of Russian unconventional operations in Ukraine war

Joseph Fitsanakis

A NEW REPORT PUBLISHED by a London-based security think-tank concludes that Russia has employed unconventional operations effectively to subdue the population in occupied areas of Ukraine.

 

These successes contrast sharply with the inferior performance of Russia’s conventional military forces, as revealed last week in a series of leaked documents belonging to the United States Department of Defense.

The 39-page report was published on March 29 by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). It is titled “Preliminary Lessons from Russia’s Unconventional Operations During the Russo-Ukrainian War, Feb 2022-Feb 2023”. It suggests that the early assessments of the Russian intelligence community failed to anticipate by a wide margin the strength of the Ukrainian opposition to the Russian invasion, as well as the West’s resolve to assist Kyiv. Moreover, early assessments by Russian intelligence agencies severely over-estimated the capabilities of the Russian military, with near-catastrophic results.

However, the report claims that, in contrast to its early assessments, the record of unconventional operations by Russia’s intelligence community in Ukraine has been largely successful, and has allowed Moscow to effectively subdue occupied populations in eastern Ukraine. It suggests that Russian intelligence agencies began planning for the military invasion at least eight months in advance. They prepared the ground by assembling a large network of agents on the ground in Ukraine, which included at least 800 Ukrainian government officials. Some of these officials offered to spy for Russia voluntarily, while others were coerced through various means.

The agent network inside Ukraine gave Russian intelligence agencies access to government databases, as well as to communications intercepts. These were used to construct detailed assessments of targeted individuals in occupied areas of Ukraine, and enabled Russian intelligence agencies to operate surgically in neutralizing leading pro-Kyiv officials in those areas. That method has been largely effective in the past year, and has allowed Moscow to exercise strict control in areas under occupation through “a steady stream of human intelligence” from its agent networks, the report claims.

In an unrelated development, a trove of leaked documents circulated on several social media platforms late last week. The documents appear to contain intelligence briefs compiled by the Joint Staff of the United States Department of Defense. The briefs contain intelligence information from a host of American intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. According to reports, the documents show the extent to which American intelligence has penetrated the Russian government. They also show Washington’s ability to assess with accuracy Moscow’s military and intelligence planning. The New York Times, which reported on the leak last week, said the documents show that “nearly every Russian security service [has been] penetrated by the United States in some way”.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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