Ukraine: Pentagon Denies Helping Ukraine Attack Russian Generals

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defense denied Thursday that it had provided intelligence on the location of Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukrainian forces could kill them.
Reacting to an explosive New York Times report about US support for Ukraine’s military, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said it was true that the US provides military intelligence to kyiv forces “to help the Ukrainians to defend their country.”
“We do not provide intelligence on the location of high-ranking military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military,” Kirby said.
In a separate revelation, US media reported later Thursday that the United States had shared intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva last month, in a major blow to President Vladimir Putin.
Anonymous officials, in a story first published by NBC, said Ukraine asked Washington about a ship sailing in the Black Sea whose location the United States helped confirm as well as identify it as Moskva.
However, the United States was unaware that Ukraine would target the flagship, the officials said.
Ukraine has been particularly successful in attacking Russian command positions and reportedly came close last week to attacking a location near the front lines in the Donbas region, where the top Russian general is believed to have Russia Valery Gerasimov was visiting the troops.
Ukrainian forces may have shelled the site just hours after Gerasimov left, according to unconfirmed reports.
Citing unnamed senior US officials, Wednesday’s New York Times report, which Kirby refuted, said that of the dozen Russian generals killed by Ukrainian forces, “many” had been targeted with the help of US intelligence.
The newspaper said the United States provided details about the Russian army’s mobile headquarters, which frequently changes location.
He reported that Ukrainian forces used that information along with their own to carry out attacks against senior Russian officials.
Kirby said Ukraine makes its own decisions about whether to attack a Russian leader or not.
“Ukraine combines the information that we and other partners provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering on the battlefield,” he said.
“Then they make their own decisions and take their own actions.”
The White House National Security Council criticized the New York Times report as “irresponsible.”
“The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help Ukrainians defend their country,” NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.
“We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.”
Washington is supplying billions of dollars worth of military equipment and ammunition to Ukraine and is training its forces on how to operate them.
It also provides kyiv with information obtained from satellites, electronic surveillance operations and other intelligence sources.
But the White House and the Pentagon have sought to limit awareness of the full scope of US assistance, hoping to avoid provoking Russia into a broader conflict beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Still, Washington’s support for Ukraine has only grown and become more direct since the Russians invaded the country on February 24.
At first, the United States said that it only wanted to help Ukraine survive.
But now Washington says its goal in the war is to weaken Russia in the long run.
“We want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do the kinds of things it has done by invading Ukraine,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after a visit to kyiv in late April.

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