CNN: “Every Zelensky Appearance Broadcast Is an Information Operation”

Newsflash buckos, everything the US and Russia say right now is also an information operation

Source: CNN

In making the decision to send billions of dollars of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, the Biden administration factored in the risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in unexpected places, a defense official said.

But right now, the official said, the administration views a failure to adequately arm Ukraine as a greater risk.

Because the US military is not on the ground, the US and NATO are heavily reliant on information provided by Ukraine’s government. Privately, officials recognize that Ukraine has an incentive to give only information that will bolster their case for more aid, more arms and more diplomatic assistance.

“It’s a war — everything they do and say publicly is designed to help them win the war. Every public statement is an information operation, every interview, every Zelensky appearance broadcast is an information operation,” said another source familiar with western intelligence. “It doesn’t mean they’re wrong to do it in any way.”

For months, US and western officials have offered detailed accounts about what the West knows about the status of Russian forces inside Ukraine: how many casualties they’ve taken, their remaining combat power, their weapons stocks, what kinds of munitions they are using and where.

But when it comes to Ukrainian forces, officials acknowledge that the West — including the US — has some information gaps.

Western estimates of Ukrainian casualties are also foggy, according to two sources familiar with US and western intelligence.

“It’s hard to track with nobody on the ground,” said one source familiar with the intelligence.

Visibility Questions

The Biden administration and NATO countries say they are providing weapons to Ukraine based on what the Ukrainian forces say they need, whether it’s portable systems like Javelin and Stinger missiles or the Slovakian S-300 air defense system that was sent over the last week.

Javelin and Stinger missiles and rifles and ammunition are naturally harder to track than larger systems like the S-300, which was shipped by rail. Although Javelins have serial numbers, there is little way to track their transfer and use in real time, sources familiar with the matter say.

Last week the US agreed to provide Kyiv with the types of high-power capabilities some Biden administration officials viewed as too much of an escalation risk a few short weeks ago, including 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzer cannons and 300 more Switchblade drones. But much of that support hasn’t yet come online — and the Switchblades are mobile, one-time use drones that would also likely be difficult to track after the fact.

“I couldn’t tell you where they are in Ukraine and whether the Ukrainians are using them at this point,” a senior defense official told reporters last week. “They’re not telling us every round of ammunition they’re firing and who and at when. We may never know exactly to what degree they’ve using the Switchblades.”

The Defense Department doesn’t earmark the weapons it sends for particular units, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.

Trucks loaded with pallets of arms provided by the Defense Department are picked up by Ukrainian armed forces — primarily in Poland — and then driven into Ukraine, Kirby said, “then it’s up to the Ukrainians to determine where they go and how they’re allocated inside their country.”

And so far, it appears that Russia has struggled to intercept or destroy the supply shipments. A third source familiar with the intelligence said that it does not appear that Russia has been actively attacking western weapons shipments entering Ukraine — although it is unclear exactly why, especially since the US has intelligence that the Russians want to and have discussed doing so both publicly and privately.

There are a number of theories for why the shipments have so far been spared, this person added, including that Russian forces simply can’t find them — the weapons and equipment are being sent over in unmarked vehicles and often transported at night. It could also be that the Russian forces are running out of munitions and don’t want to waste them targeting random trucks unless they can be certain they are part of an arms convoy.

Though on Monday Russian claimed it had destroyed a depot “near Lviv,” which held “large consignments” of weapons provided to Ukraine by the United States and European countries. CNN has not been able to verify the claim.

But broadly, Russia doesn’t have perfect intelligence visibility into Ukraine, either, this source noted, and their air capabilities over western Ukraine, where the shipments are coming in, are extremely limited because of Ukrainian air defense systems.

Publicly, the Pentagon says it has not yet seen Russian attempts to disrupt the weapons transfers or the shipments moving inside Ukraine.

“Flights are still going into trans-shipment sites in the region. And ground movement is still occurring of this material inside Ukraine. Every single day, there are the security assistance, weapons and material and support equipment that is getting into Ukrainian hands,” Kirby said Thursday.

“We’re going to keep doing that as much as we can, as fast as we can. We have not seen any Russian efforts to interdict that flow. And so we’re just going to keep doing it,” he added. “We constantly look at it every day monitor it, change it, adapt it as needed.”

  1. CharlesHomer says

    As shown in this article, one pro-climate change group has a plan in place that will punish Vladimir Putin:

    So, if the plan recommended by RePlanet is implemented, who will be getting the last laugh? Putin and Xi or Europe’s political leaders? I think that the answer is very obvious and it isn’t the people that will be forced to ration their use of hydrocarbons.

  2. guest says

    If the morons at CNN, CBC, PBS, Youtube &c, &c, had half a brain, they would put on uncut shows of Soloviev, sermons by Putin’s high priest and other bishops. There is no need for propaganda, those Russians speak for themselves eloquently, loud and clear —better than anything americano journalistas can invent.

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