Pentagon leaked documents which propelled US officials to spy on its allies and adversaries in a bid to find where things went southwards, revealed that a British surveillance plane was on the verge of being shot down by a Russian fighter jet last year.
According to The Washington Post, one of the leaked documents mention a “near shoot-down of UK RJ,” a United Kingdom reconnaissance aircraft. RJ signifies to RC-135 reconnaissance planes. They are also known by the name “Rivet Joints.”
As per reports, the nearly-missed incident took place on 29 September last year. The British plane was flying off the Crimean coast. The aircraft was a usual spy one which is used to gather electronic messages.
The information in the leaked document suggests that UK RJ was nearly taken down by a missile shot by a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet.
This is a significant leak. In case Russia had indeed taken out the British plane it would have dragged United States and its NATO partners into the Ukraine war.
It is important to note that UK is already aware of this as was disclosed by country’s defence minister last year but there is a difference in what he said and what the leaked documents indicate.
The incident was reported to the British Parliament by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in October. At the time he said, two Russian fighter planes had intercepted the RC-135 and were flying “recklessly.”
However, the point here is that Wallace did not mention that the conflict almost resulted in a shootdown. He only mentioned that a Russian fighter “launched a missile” at the moment. Wallace cited a “technical fault” as the cause of the missile launch.
The other significant disclosure made in the leaked Pentagon documents from February were depleting Ukraine air defenses, something which may spell trouble for the European country fighting the war for over a year now.
As per reports, Ukraine’s air defenses are at risk of running out of missiles and ammunition within weeks.
A document from 23 February which was marked “secret” describes in detail how Ukraine’s S-300 air defense systems from the Soviet period will be exhausted by 2 May if consumption continues at the current rate. However, there is no clarity how Ukraine’s air defenses stand as of now or whether the utilisation rate has altered since then.
Many classified documents with “secret” information of US and NATO preparations to boost the Ukrainian army in preparation for an imminent Russian attack were leaked online.
The Biden administration started an investigation into the papers. However, as per reports, they already made their way around on Twitter and Telegram and have raised severe concerns about security breaches.
“We are aware of the reports of social media posts and the department is reviewing the matter,” Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary at the Pentagon told the Times.
The other details of the leak, which allegedly took place from Pentagon, nine of the 12 Ukrainian combat brigades were reportedly being trained by US and NATO forces.
According to the leaked papers, 250 tanks and more than 350 mechanised vehicles are required to repel the Russian army.