Russia is offering troops bonus pay to destroy tanks that have been supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries, according to leaked US intelligence documents reviewed by The New York Times.
The documents, which were labeled top secret according to the Times, stated that video footage of foreign tanks being destroyed will then be used to boost Russian soldiers' confidence and hobble Ukraine's and the West's morale.
"Financial incentives would be offered for the capture and destruction of foreign tanks, and videos of tanks being destroyed would be widely distributed to reduce the confidence of Ukraine and the West and reassure Russian troops of their ability to overcome this new weaponry," the document said, according to the Times.
The document is part of a larger trove of intelligence that was leaked on social media in the past several days — some of which pertained to Russia's and Ukraine's military activities, the Times reported. Experts have noted, however, that some of the documents may have been altered for propaganda purposes.
Some of the leaked documents also showed that Ukraine may deplete its air defenses by May, emboldening Russia to utilize bomber jets against Ukrainian forces.
Russia's bonus-pay strategy not only reflects the dwindling troop morale amid a costly war but also the country's struggle to effectively respond to Ukraine's tank force despite having a greater number of armored vehicles.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Oryx, an open-source intelligence analysis platform, Russia lost nearly half of its tank supply, or more than 1,500 tanks, since the war began last February.
One repeated misstep by Russia was sending a fleet of unprotected tanks into an ambush in Bucha and, later, in Vuhledar.
The US, UK, Germany, and Poland have agreed to send tanks to Ukraine.