Kiev appears frustrated with the White House over the leaks of highly classified documents. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he learned of the leak through the media and has not yet spoken with President Joe Biden regarding the trove of documents.
“I did not receive information from the White House or the Pentagon beforehand,” Zelensky said. “We did not have that information. I personally did not. It’s definitely a bad story.” The Washington Post reports the highest-level conversation about the leaks to date was between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
The documents, allegedly leaked by Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Tiexiera, paint a bleak picture for the Ukrainian war effort. The documents show the expected counteroffensive may not succeed. Among other key revelations, the documents exposed that Russian forces were disabling American-made smart bombs, Kiev is running out of air defenses and the White House is spying on the Zelensky administration.
The Ukrainian leader said he was not free to speak his mind about the documents making their way into the public eye. “I cannot risk our state.” Zelensky continued, “Where I can speak frankly, I do it. But there are high risks… I would tell everyone what I think of them. But here the story is a little different. We are all responsible.”
However, Zelensky was willing to express some complaints during his one-hour private interview with Washington Post reporters. “It is unprofitable for us… It is not beneficial to the reputation of the White House, and I believe it is not beneficial to the reputation of the United States,” he said.
The leaks have created some fractures between Washington and Kiev. The Post spoke with unnamed Ukrainian officials who believe “Washington’s inability to protect sensitive information could lead to Kyiv sharing less intelligence with the United States.”
Zelensky refused to confirm the documents’ authenticity but claimed the leak benefited Russia. “For us, anything that informs our enemy in advance in one way or another is definitely a minus for us. I don’t see any advantages here,” Zelensky said.