Britain’s spies tapped into numerous social network sites and apps as they monitored discussion and chat by Russian soldiers. Intelligence officers became aware of invasion plans after noting traffic on VKontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook.
One source stated information had also been obtained on gay dating site Grindr.
Hardliner Putin banned homosexual “propaganda” in 2013, yet the app is used discretely by military soldiers and officials.
The source said: “These sites were a treasure trove for our spies, and the dating apps in particular – soldiers and those involved in the military effort were particularly unguarded.
“It meant we were very au fait with the plans and the imminence of the invasion, right down to details such as the movement of blood supplies to the Russian troops.”
The source, talking to the Mail on Sunday, added the “amount – and the quality” – of the intelligence shared with the Ukrainians was highly unusual.
They said: “We are basically giving them unexpurgated access to our intelligence to help them as best we can, only keeping back details to protect sources and to disguise some of our methods.”
Britain is not alone when it comes to sharing intelligence with Ukrainian officials to assist in the war.
The United States, which is part of the five-eyes network with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is also helping out.
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Speaking at a press conference confirming the act White House spokeswoman Jeb Psaki said: “We have been sharing it real-time.”
She added: “Without getting too far into details of what we do, for obvious reasons, we have consistently been sharing intelligence including information the Ukrainians can use to inform and develop their military response to Russia’s invasion.
“That has been ongoing and reports that suggest otherwise are inaccurate.”
The admission appears to contradict statements from other US leaders, who have said America is not sharing real-time intel with Ukraine to avoid getting directly involved in the war with Russia.
Representative Adam Smith, House Armed Services Committee chairman said: “That steps over the line to making us participate in the war.”
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CIA historian Tim Weiner was one of many who praised the efforts of the US intelligence services who predicted the invasion would happen.
Speaking to CNN he said: “For the first time in a long time, American intelligence agencies were thinking strategically, looking out over the horizon, as opposed to reporting what happened five minutes ago.
“The result was a clear and prescient picture of Putin’s intentions toward Ukraine.”
This morning, British military intelligence stated Russian forces were targeting populated areas in Ukraine but the strength of resistance was slowing the Russian advance.
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An intelligence report said: “The scale and strength of Ukrainian resistance continue to surprise Russia.
“Russia has responded by targeting populated areas in multiple locations, including Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol.
“Russia has previously used similar tactics in Chechnya in 1999 and Syria in 2016, employing both air and ground-based munitions.”
Moscow has denied it is targeting civilian areas.
British military intelligence has also delivered a demoralising report on the progress of the 40-mile-long Russian convoy parked up north of Kyiv.
A report said: “The main body of the large Russian column advancing on Kyiv remains over 30km from the centre of the city having been delayed by staunch Ukrainian resistance, mechanical breakdown and congestion.
“The column has made little discernible progress in over three days.”