US intel helped Ukraine sink massive Russian warship

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US intel helped Ukraine sink massive Russian warship

US intelligence played a pivotal role in Ukraine’s attack on a flagship Russian warship last month, an American official said Thursday.

Ukraine targeted and sank the Russian missile cruiser Moskva on April 14 with its own anti-ship missiles after the US provided “a range of intelligence” that included the location of the ship in the Black Sea, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The US was not aware of Ukraine’s attack until after it was completed, the official said, in comments that were first reported by NBC News.

The high-profile sinking of the Moskva was a blow to Russia’s military, who denied the ship was taken down by Ukraine, instead claiming it sank due to an unexplained fire and “choppy seas.”

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet made news early in the war when Ukraine border guards defending a small island refused to surrender and told the ship to “go f–k yourself.”

The disclosure of Washington’s role in the attack came as the Biden administration faces increasing political pressure to ramp up efforts to support the Ukrainian military two and half months into Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

At the start of the conflict, the White House walked a tightrope of providing support to Kyiv while taking strides not to provoke Moscow into escalating the war.

The Moskva, missile cruiser flagship of Russian Black Sea Fleet, entering Sevastopol bay.
Ukraine had targeted Russia’s Moskva missile cruiser after the ship fired artillery at a small Black Sea island.
VASILIY BATANOV/AFP via Getty Images

News of US intelligence in the Moskva attack combined with recent heavy weapons assistance and calls for a $33 billion aid package have underscored how the Pentagon’s strategy has become less cautious of late.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby Thursday threw cold water on a New York Times report that said US intelligence was used by Ukraine to kill approximately a dozen Russian generals.

US agencies “do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied a report about US intelligence helping Ukraine with killing multiple Russian generals.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

“Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intel that they themselves are gathering and then they make their own decisions and they take their own actions.”

With AP wires

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