Ukraine is a cornered animal, and it plans to lash out like one.
The leak of classified documents on the gaming and chat platform Discord continues to be a treasure trove of information about America’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.
Earlier revelations from the Discord leak suggested Ukraine is a cornered animal. The latest shows it might lash out like one. The Washington Post reported Monday that documents in the leak claimed that the United States had to force Ukraine to back down from a direct attack on Moscow. Time and time again, the United States has had to rein in or express serious concern internally about Ukraine’s plans to fight Russia, not just in Ukraine or even within Russia’s borders, but in the Middle East and North Africa as well.
A classified report from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) claimed that Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, who heads the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) for Ukraine’s defense ministry, instructed one of his officers on February 13 “to get ready for mass strikes on 24 February.” Ukraine was to strike “with everything the HUR had.” The NSA report also said Ukrainian officials joked about using TNT to strike Novorossiysk, a Black Sea port city east of the Crimean Peninsula. The Post asserted such an operation would be “largely symbolic,” but “would nevertheless demonstrate Ukraine’s ability to hit deep inside enemy territory.”
Budanov has a reputation for being a loose cannon. Previously, he claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was terminally ill and employed body doubles for public appearances. He is apparently convinced that Ukraine will overwhelm and repel the Russian invasion, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, sometime this summer. Which is why it appears the U.S. intelligence apparatus has taken up monitoring Budanov’s moves and communications. And Budanov appears to know it. The Post added that, when it has interviewed Budanov on occasion since the outbreak of the war, reporters have heard white noise or music in the background of the major general’s office.
This time, however, it appears the United States prevented the loose cannon from going off. On February 22, the CIA internally circulated a classified report that the HUR “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes” on Moscow. Nevertheless, the CIA also said “there is no indication” that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) had “agreed to postpone its own plans to attack Moscow around the same date.”
The SBU also apparently held off any plans it may have had for striking deep into Russian territory on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. The United States’s efforts to discourage Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory only lasted so long, however. About a week after the anniversary of the Russian invasion, the Kremlin accused Ukrainian drones of striking infrastructure relatively close to Moscow.
Such drone attacks are par for the course in Ukraine’s recent military operations inside Russian territory. Last October, Russia accused Ukraine of drone strikes against its Black Sea fleet in Crimea. Though the authenticity has not been confirmed, video footage shows a drone heading towards a ship as what appears to be gunfire hits the water around the Russian vessel. The Kremlin claimed a minesweeper was damaged in the attack. Then in December, Ukrainian drones reportedly struck Engels-2, a military air-base about 400 miles inside Russian territory. Drones also struck two other military airfields and an oil facility in the Kursk province.
Ukraine appears to now be reaching further into Russian territory and is less ambiguous about its involvement in these attacks. Earlier on in the conflict, Ukraine often denied playing a role in attacks on Russian installations and infrastructure within its borders, such as the car-bombing incident in August 2022 that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian nationalist and staunch supporter of Russia’s invasion. Despite repeated Ukrainian denials, the U.S. intelligence community believes Ukraine was behind the attack.
In an interview with the Post in January, however, Budanov simultaneously denied Ukraine’s involvement in many of these attacks and claimed that they would continue. Such attacks “shattered their illusions of safety,” Budanov reportedly claimed. “There are people who plant explosives. There are drones. Until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored, there will be problems inside Russia.”
Other revelations from the Discord-leaked documents: Ukraine wants to expand the scope of the conflict beyond that of continental Europe and take the Russians to task in the Middle East and North Africa. The NSA report claimed that Budanov’s HUR planned to attack the Wagner Group—a Russian military contractor with a reputation for brutality whose members have assisted in the Ukraine offensive—in the African country of Mali. The Wagner Group’s services are retained by the government of Mali for security and training their own military forces.
The NSA document said, “It is unknown what stage the operations [in Mali] were currently in and whether the HUR has received approval to execute its plans,” according to the Post.
At the same time, the HUR was developing plans to strike Russian forces in Syria by partnering with the Kurds. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly put the kibosh on the special operations offensive in the Middle East, but at least one of the documents reviewed by the Post claimed that efforts to attack Russian assets in Syria that avoid Ukrainian culpability may still be on the table for the Ukrainian government.
Are these not plans for a world war? Would the United States not be responsible if the Ukrainian government, which both militarily and financially would be defunct without nearly $100 billion in U.S. aid, decided to go forward with such plans?
The Biden administration would deny any culpability in starting World War III, of course. It would point to the fact that the U.S. prohibits using the military aid it gives Ukraine to strike Russia. Thus, the United States retains much say over Ukraine’s battle plans and has successfully thwarted grand Ukrainian plans to strike Moscow and several other core Russian targets on separate occasions.
Ukrainian officials have admitted this in private, too. Oftentimes, if Ukraine wants to use a rocket system provided by the United States to strike a target, U.S. military personnel in Europe either have to confirm the coordinates or provide the coordinates themselves.
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The Biden administration and the foreign policy blob that supports the United States involvement in Ukraine might think this makes our involvement sound all the better. It doesn’t. It reveals who is really waging this war against Russia. Ukraine, which has been a money-laundering operation for the well-connected in the West for the last decade (see Hunter Biden), continues to be just that. Ukraine is the American liberal empire’s proxy in the truest sense.
The weapons systems, ammunition, and military equipment the United States provides Ukraine maintains a certain level of fungibility—and aid dollars more so than the physical equipment. Providing military aid, even with the current strings attached, expands Ukraine’s pool of resources, meaning they can devote what is “theirs” to operations and theaters that suit their fancy.
Restraining Ukraine is becoming increasingly difficult, and funding Ukraine’s military efforts increasingly risky. That much is clear from America’s own assessment of Ukraine’s war plans revealed in the Discord leak. Heads should roll at the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House for blindly walking into a conflict that Ukraine wants to go global.