US President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a new aid package for Ukraine that includes heavy weapons and more intelligence. Since the beginning of the war, the United States has used declassification and shared sensitive information with the public and Ukraine. The approach has a clear impact on the course of the conflict.
For the first time, the United States decided, Wednesday, April 13, to send heavy weapons – including howitzers – to Ukraine to defend against Russia. A new step in Washington’s commitment to Kyiv, which the media did not fail to highlight.
but that is not all. The new US aid plan to Ukraine – worth $800 million – has another component, which has gone unnoticed, that is for intelligence.
US President Joe Biden has vowed to send more data collected by his intelligence services to Ukraine, where the Russian military appears closer than ever to unleashing the major battle for Donbass.
Even Joe Biden put the supply of weapons and intelligence on an equal footing. The exchange of this sensitive information “plays a clear role in the evolution of the Ukrainian-Russian balance of power on the ground,” Jeff Hawn, who specializes in Russian security issues and Russian-American relations at the London School of Economics, admits he was contacted. by France 24. The United States is by far the “most advanced country in satellite data collection and signal interception, and accessing this information can be invaluable,” he notes.
But it is still difficult to assess its true impact: the effects of timely intelligence are less clear than those from anti-aircraft or anti-tank missiles. Moreover, they are doomed to publicize behind the scenes out of the public eye and the enemy.
Since the beginning of the war, much debate over the role of intelligence has swirled around the “unprecedented” approach to declassifying sensitive information. Since the early months of the Ukraine crisis, the Biden administration has bombarded the media with data — assessments of war risks, satellite imagery of mobilizing Russian forces — coming straight from the back kitchens of various US foreign intelligence offices. Defense Intelligence Agency).
The documents, usually reserved for the eyes of the Allied governments alone, fueled public debate. This strategy “did not prevent war, but it made it possible for the largest number of people to accept that Russia was the aggressor. This facilitated international coordination to impose sanctions,” asserts Ofer Remer, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Intelligence specialist, contacted by France 24. Hon.
Ofer Remer believes that another indirect effect of this public display of “secret” Russian plans before the start of the war of conquest is “the creation of a state of distrust between the Kremlin and Russian intelligence.” This spread of revelations may have given the impression that the Russian General Staff was infiltrated by Western intelligence services. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the reputable Russian intelligence services did not seem to play a decisive role during this conflict: Vladimir Putin no longer wanted to listen to his spies.
Information that can kill
Frequent declassifications of information almost made people forget that once war was declared, spies continued to spy. But this time, it’s hard to tell how much Ukraine benefits from it.
“There are two types of intelligence that the United States can pass on to Kyiv: strategic, not general, information about Russian war plans and objectives, and tactical data to monitor troop movements in real time.” , summarizes Jeff Hawn.
The United States has never kept a secret that it has been sending the first type of information to Kyiv since the beginning of March. But Washington maintains a technical ambiguity about providing tactical data. Asked directly about it in early March, Democrat Adam Smith, chair of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, denied passing on such intelligence, while White House spokesman Jen Psaki confirmed hours later that Adam Smith “did not.” He understands everything.” But she did not want to go into details.
Understandable reluctance. This kind of intelligence can kill: geolocation data to track Russian forces on the ground will allow the Ukrainians to conduct targeted liquidations. The United States then risks appearing to be little more than a party to the war in Ukraine, setting the stage for a dangerous escalation of the conflict.
Hence the importance of announcing the intensification of sharing sensitive information with kyiv. “A new doctrine has been developed in Washington that will allow US intelligence services to share data that will allow Kev to get a very accurate picture of the Russian military system that has been set up in the Donbass and Crimea,” the Wall Street Journal asserts.
So it seems that the US administration decided to “provide preliminary data that will allow the Ukrainian army to obtain a real-time picture of the movements of Russian forces,” Jeff Hoon estimates. The US Joint Chiefs of Staff also appeared to confirm this to the Wall Street Journal by asserting that the new doctrine’s red line was “not to provide intelligence on Russian sites in Russia so as not to allow Ukraine to carry out offensive operations.” He writes daily. In other words: everything else is permitted.
A significant change in belief is explained by the evolution of the context on Earth. Geoff Hoon believes that preparing for an offensive in the Donbass requires more than just strategic information. It is a narrower front where there will be attempts to encircle by Russian forces, which makes it even more important for “Ukrainians to know exactly where the enemy is coming from in order to properly defend themselves,” this specialist asserts.
Even if, in fact, the United States did not provide this famous tactical information, the simple fact of its proposal “could have a demoralizing effect,” Over Reimer estimates. Russian soldiers, who have already suffered a setback in their attempt to capture Kyiv, risk becoming more defensive if they think Ukraine knows their exact position on the Americans.
But this opening of the CIA spout is not just an act of hostility by the United States towards Russia. Ofer Remer asserts that this is also, ironically, “a way of indicating that they will not get involved more progressively and directly in the conflict.” A nation willing to engage militarily on a front keeps its information to itself so that it can use it when necessary. In other words, Moscow will have something to really worry about the day American spies fall silent.