Ukrainian agents have engaged in drone attacks in Belarus and Russia, with Kyiv’s officials considering other targets outside of the country’s territory, leaked U.S. documents reveal.
Out of at least 100 intelligence documents that came to light on social media platforms last week, two papers obtained by NBC News appear to show Ukraine launching or considering operations inside the two countries.
The finding is significant as Western nations including the United States have warned that such actions from Ukraine might cause partner nations to reconsider or limit military assistance for Kyiv.
Asked about the report on Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not comment on “purported documents” or “specific actions that Ukraine takes when it comes to defending its sovereignty,” but said Ukraine makes its own decisions.
“Ukraine has to make decisions about how it can most effectively defend itself against Russian aggression and take back the territory that’s been seized from it,” Blinken said at a State Department news conference.
“We give our advice as appropriate. We provide the support, that is well known, but Ukraine makes the decisions about how it actually prosecutes the effort to regain its territory,” he added.
One document marked “Top Secret,” details two separate attacks supposedly planned by Kyiv that minimally damaged a military airfield outside Minsk, Belarus, and a gas compressor station outside Moscow, according to the outlet.
A second document claims that on Feb. 28 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “suggested striking Russian deployment locations in Russia’s Rostov Oblast,” near southeastern Ukraine, with drones, according to NBC.
In the first attack in Belarus, Ukraine’s Security Service officials found that their agents had disobeyed orders and used a quadcopter drone to attack a Russian surveillance aircraft at a Belarusian airfield on Feb. 26, the document notes.
The Russian surveillance aircraft was in the former Soviet state as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has allowed Moscow to station forces and military equipment in his country.
Two days later on Feb. 28, Russian officials reported that Ukrainian forces used a drone to try “to strike a gas compression station in Moscow’s suburbs,” according to the document.
In the paper on Zelensky’s conversation, meanwhile, the Ukrainian leader suggested to Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny and a second unidentified Ukrainian official that Ukraine attack Russian forces across the border with drones in lieu of long-range missiles, according to NBC.
The Biden administration has held off on supplying Ukraine with long-range missile systems as well as more advanced fighter jets over concerns Ukraine may use such weapons to strike targets within Russia, causing the conflict to spill into the West.
NBC News and other outlets have not been able to independently confirm much of the information found in the leaked documents.
Both the United States and Ukraine have declined to comment on the material.
The U.S. government has hastily stood up an interagency effort to investigate the leak, with both the Pentagon and Justice Department looking into the incident.