Fake and Fabricated: South Korean President Slams Bunch of Leaked Ukrainian Documents, Saying It’s Full of Fake Information
- South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul has denied allegations that the United States is snooping on his officials
- He said Washington agrees that many of the documents are “fabricated.”
- Understandably, Seoul was worried about sending deadly aid to Ukraine
South Korea has described a batch of leaked documents purporting to detail the war effort in Ukraine as fraudulent.
The classified intelligence files contained allegations that the United States was snooping on the South Korean government, as well as other allies.
But the office of President Yoon Suk-yul said the idea of US spies monitoring high-ranking officials in Seoul was a “ridiculous false suspicion”.
The South Korean president said that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had already agreed with his counterpart Lee Jong-sob that “a large number of the documents in question were fabricated.”
South Korean President Yoon Sok-yul said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed with his office’s assessment that many of the documents were forged.
South Korea’s Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo added: “The two countries have the same assessment that much of the information that has been disclosed has been altered.”
He did not provide further details, and Pentagon officials have not yet released a readout of the call.
But the British Ministry of Defense appeared to back up Seoul’s claims, saying the leaks “showed a dangerous level of inaccuracy”.
A UK government spokesperson said: “Readers should exercise caution in dealing with claims which have face value and which have the potential to spread misinformation.”
Some of the files reportedly show concerns among senior South Korean national security officials that weapons manufactured by their country could end up being used in Ukraine.
Despite US pressure, South Korea is among the world’s largest arms exporters, but has not agreed to sell or donate arms to the armed forces in Kiev.
One intercepted memo details how two senior presidential advisers discussed how to deal with US pressure to help arm Ukraine’s military.
An aide was quoted as saying that shells could be sent to Poland instead, to avoid the appearance of capitulation to the United States or a violation of long-standing South Korean policy.
Publicly, South Korean officials have pointed to local laws that they say prevent them from sending weapons directly into war zones.
Apart from including details of weapons and training for Ukraine, the papers also cover China, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as America’s relationship with Israel.
This document appears to show the state of Ukraine’s air defenses in February and May, when they are expected to be severely depleted.
Because according to the leaked documents, Ukraine’s stockpile is rapidly depleting, which in turn opens a window for Russian aircraft to attack.
Justice Department investigators have opened a criminal investigation into the possible identity of the leaker.
They have refused to rule out that Russia was behind the embarrassing security breach, but it is widely believed that a US source helped spread the documents online.
It is the most significant intelligence leak since the WikiLeaks affair in 2013 as more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables surfaced on the self-designed transparency platform.
Dozens of images of the documents have been circulating on social media platforms and messaging services including Twitter, Telegram and Discord for several weeks.
On Monday, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, admitted that some of the files had been “manipulated.”
“We are still working to verify the authenticity of all the documents that we know exist,” he said.
Oleksey Danilov, a senior Ukrainian defense official, moved to downplay the leak and the risks to their soldiers on the battlefield.
“The opinion of people who have nothing to do with this matter doesn’t matter to us,” said the head of the country’s National Security and Defense Council.
He added that “the circle of people who possess information is very restricted.”
What have we learned from the leaks so far?
- After a muddy winter, Ukraine is exhausted after more than a year of war and the United States believes it will struggle to mount an effective counteroffensive.
- Ukrainian soldiers are the ammunition supplies needed to retake the main ground.
- However, US intelligence claims that it has penetrated the Russian military and can warn Ukraine of upcoming attacks.
- On top of the security concerns, the Russian military is still reeling from the failed attack.
- Months before a Russian Su-27 mowed down a US drone over the Black Sea, a Russian fighter came close to shooting down a British reconnaissance plane in September near Crimea.
- Reportedly, Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has contacted Turkey to purchase weapons and equipment for its operations in Ukraine and Mali.
- The United States has 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 United States.
- Separately, leaders of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, reportedly encouraged citizens and officials to protest proposed judicial reforms.
- Egypt also once planned to secretly send 40,000 missiles to Russia, despite being a close ally of America.
The intelligence breach could have a major impact on the conflict landscape in Ukraine. Biden, left, meets with Ukrainian President Zelensky in February 2023