Putin may be preparing to bring Russia's prized bomber jets to the war on Ukraine after leaked military intelligence found Ukrainian air power will 'be completely reduced' by June, report says
- Intelligence documents were leaked this week, revealing American and NATO plans in the Ukraine war.
- The New York Times reported the documents said current Ukraine air power will be depleted by summer.
Military intelligence leaked online this week indicated Ukrainian air defenses will be depleted by the end of May, which may embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring reserved fighter jets to the front lines.
Ukrainians are rapidly using up stores of munitions faster than allies can replenish them, Insider previously reported. At the current rate of use, the leaked documents say, Ukrainian air defenses will "be completely reduced" by May 23, The New York Times reported.
The veracity of the documents is still being investigated, though some versions circulating online have been edited, Insider previously reported.
Without increased military aid, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly told allies should come in the form of F-16 jets, The New York Times reported Russia may be emboldened to bring out bomber jets it has been saving from facing Ukrainian defenses that have so far destroyed 280 Russian planes.
Fighting against a weakened Ukrainian air force, increased Russian firepower could change the course of the war.
Russia has so far held back its most advanced jets — including its much-touted Su-57 stealth fighter — from the front lines of the war over fears that they would be shot down, Insider previously reported.
Representatives for the Pentagon declined to answer Insider's questions regarding the leaked documents or strategy details they purport to show, but provided an emailed statement reading in part: "The Department of Defense continues to review and assess the validity of the photographed documents that are circulating on social media sites and that appear to contain sensitive and highly classified material," adding that the matter has been referred to the Department of Justice, "which has opened a criminal investigation."
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