The Washington Post reported Monday that Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, known as HUR, was planning major strikes inside Russia in February that were postponed due to US pressure.
The report cited documents allegedly leaked by Airman Jack Teixeira. According to a report from the National Security Agency, HUR chief Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov instructed one officer “to get ready for mass strikes on 24 February … with everything the HUR had.” The date marked one year since Russia launched its invasion.
The US became aware of Budanov’s plans as it has been spying on Ukrainian officials. According to a CIA report dated February 22, the HUR had “agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes.” The Post said it wasn’t clear from the documents how the US pressured Kyiv to push back the operations.
Throughout the war, Ukraine has launched small drone attacks and conducted other sabotage operations inside Russia. It’s not clear what Budanov meant by “mass strikes.” One plan mentioned by the Post was using TNT to attack the Black Sea port city of Novorossiysk.
The Post report suggests the US didn’t want Budanov to follow through on his plans over concerns of a Russian escalation, but there are indications that the US has helped Kyiv with other attacks inside Russia. After Ukrainian drones hit airfields deep inside Russia in December, NATO military sources told Asia Times that the drones used US satellite GPS data to hit their targets despite Biden administration claims that the US didn’t “encourage nor enable” the attacks.
Another leaked document that was first reported on earlier this month suggested Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would use long-range US weapons to hit targets inside Russia despite assurances that he wouldn’t. The document said Zelensky “expressed concern” that Kyiv didn’t possess long-range weapons to hit Russian targets in Rostov during a conversation with Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhny and another unnamed official.