US intelligence ‘helped Ukraine locate and sink’ Russian flagship in Black sea

Sinking of flagship was major embarrassment to Moscow

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Friday 06 May 2022 04:20
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Russia releases video claiming to show survivors from Moskva warship meeting with navy chief

US intelligence helped Ukraine locate and sink Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea last month, according to reports.

The sinking of the Moskva, flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet on 14 April, was considered a major victory for Ukraine as it sought to stave off the military might of Russia. Two cruise missiles sunk the vessel in an embarrassing blow to Moscow.

At the time, Russia said the vessel had sank while being towed to port. Ukraine said its sinking came after it hit it with two missies.

Russia said that at least one person was killed and several dozen sailors were missing. The ship was said to have had a crew of more than 500.

Multiple reports in the US media said on Thursday that officials in Washington had revealed the United States had provided the intelligence to help Ukraine locate the warship.

NBC News said the attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa.

The US identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.

The US officials, who were not identified in the reports, claimed Washington had no advance warning that Ukraine was going to target the Moskva, and “was not involved in the decision to strike”.

Regardless of the specific degree of involvement of the US intelligence community, the revelation could be of concern about Washington’s increasing role in the defence of Ukraine, an involvement something President Joe Biden has claimed he does not wish to escalate.

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It came a day after the New York Times reported that the US was helping Ukraine with intelligence that had allowed it to kill a number of Russian generals, a move that will be seen by some as another step in the proxy war between the Western and Nato nations helping Kyiv, and Russia.

Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts, the paper said.

On Thursday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby denied that the US was giving such specific information about top Russian officers.

“We 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 told reporters in Washington DC.

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

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