Justice Department investigating leak, follow live blog for updates on Ukraine crisis
Meanwhile, the Justice Department said it was separately investigating the leak. Please follow ‘s live blog for the latest updates on the Ukraine crisis, all times are Paris time (GMT+2).
8:04am: Russia likely behind US military document leak, US officials say
According to three US officials who spoke to Reuters on Friday, Russia or pro-Russian groups are probably behind the leak of several classified US military documents posted on social media, which provide a partial, one-month picture of the war in Ukraine.
The US officials stated their assessments were informal and separate from the investigation into the leak itself.
The documents in question seem to have been edited to downplay the number of casualties sustained by Russian forces. The US officials refused to divulge any further details, citing the sensitivity of the matter.
An initial set of documents was circulated on sites such as Twitter and Telegram, dated March 1 and marked as classified “Secret” and “Top Secret.”
Later that day, additional materials surfaced on social media, including information about US national security secrets linked to Ukraine, the Middle East, and China, according to The New York Times.
Mick Mulroy, a senior Pentagon official, told The New York Times that the leak was a “significant security breach” that could have a negative impact on Ukraine’s military planning.
10:18pm: Zelensky hosts iftar, slams Russian ‘repression’ of Crimea Muslims
During the first official state iftar, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky criticised Russia’s treatment of the Muslim-minority Tatar community in Crimea, which is under Kremlin control, and pledged to retake the region from Russia.
“Russia’s attempt to enslave Ukraine… began exactly with the occupation of Crimea, exactly with repressions against Crimean, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar freedom and of Crimean Muslims,” he told Ukrainian Muslim leaders and ambassadors from Muslim countries.
Russia took control of the Black Sea territory from Ukraine in 2014 and conducted a referendum on the annexation that was widely condemned as fraudulent and illegitimate by Ukraine and its Western allies.
The Tatar community, which made up 12-15% of the region’s two million residents, largely boycotted the 2014 vote.
5:42pm: Russia formally charges US reporter with espionage
On Friday, Russian investigators formally charged American journalist Evan Gershkovich with espionage. Gershkovich, who works for the Wall Street Journal, has denied the charges.
“FSB investigators charged Gershkovich with espionage in the interests of his country. He categorically denied all accusations and stated that he was engaged in journalistic activities in Russia,” Russian state-run agency TASS said, citing a law enforcement source.