Psaki DENIES US gave Ukraine intelligence to take out Russian warship

Psaki DENIES US gave Ukraine intelligence to take out Russian warship Moskva after report American intel ‘helped’ sink the Black Sea flagship

  • On Thursday an American official said that the US shared intelligence about the location of the Russian missile cruiser Moskva with Ukraine
  • The official said that the US did not know Ukraine planned on striking the Moskva- a huge Soviet-era missile cruiser- and was not involved in the decision
  • The intel was given to Ukraine to help them defend themselves from attacks from Russia
  • The sinking of the flagship was a humiliating loss for Russia; it had a crew of 500 and an important role in air defense capability 
  • The disclosure of U.S. support in the Moskva strike comes as the White House is under pressure from Republicans to do more to support Ukraine’s resistance 
  • As the conflict between the countries continues, the Biden administration has ramped up intelligence sharing with Ukraine alongside the shipment of arms
  • Psaki pushed back on the narrative Friday, saying the US ‘did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva’
  • She said the US had no ‘prior knowledge’ of Ukraine’s intention to target it 
  • She called reports ‘an inaccurate over-claiming of our role’ 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on reports Friday that U.S. intelligence helped the Ukrainian military sink the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva.

She called those reports ‘inaccurate’ – and cast them as ‘over-claiming’ a US role she said was an action founded on Ukrainian capabilities. 

‘We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva. We were not involved in the Ukrainians decision to strike the ship. Or in the operation they carried out,’ she said.  

She continued: ‘We had no prior knowledge with Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case,’ Psaki said.

The U.S. said the Russian guided missile cruiser was struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles April 14th before it caught fire and went down. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said reports that the US helped Ukraine sink Russia’s Black Sea flagship ‘an inaccurate over-claiming of our role’ 

Psaki said she ‘discussed this with both our national security adviser and the President and the view is that one this is an inaccurate over-claiming of our role and in an under claiming of the role of the Ukrainians who frankly have a greater level of intelligence and access to intelligence than we do.’

Psaki’s carefully chosen words, which appeared to be compiled in advance, did not rule out the US having provided information on the ship’s location that the Ukrainians then put to use on their own initiative. 

‘We do provide a range of intelligence to help them understand the threat posed by Russian ships in the Black Sea, and to help them prepare to defend themselves. against potential sea based assaults,’ she said. ‘But they take our intelligence, and they combine that with what they have access to. And so on this specific report, it’s just not an accurate depiction of how this happened.’

She was asked if the US provided information that helped the Ukrainians take out Russian generals and ships, and if it risked potential further escalation of the war. 

Her comments came after a US official confirmed that the Biden administration shared intel with Ukraine that helped locate and sink the Russian flagship Moskva last month in a stunning blow to Vladimir Putin’s offensive. 

That followed a New York Times report that the U.S. had provided intelligence information that helped the Ukrainians successfully target ‘many’ of the Russian generals who have died in the war. 

The Ukrainian military says it has killed a dozen of them, an extraordinary number.

The report also cited multiple U.S. officials as saying a strike in Eastern Ukraine where Gen. Valery Gerasimov, head of the Russian joint staff, had visited ‘was not aided by American intelligence.’ 

On Thursday, an American official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the US shared intelligence about the location of the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet prior to the April strike by Ukraine. 

The official said that the US did not know Ukraine planned on striking the Moskva – a huge Soviet-era missile cruiser- and was not involved in Kyiv’s decision, NBC News reported. 

The 600-foot long ship had roughly 500 sailors on board when it was struck. It is still unclear how many Russians were injured or died in the attack

A US official said that the US did not know Ukraine planned on striking the Moskva- a huge Soviet-era missile cruiser- and was not involved in the decision

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said American 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’

The intel was given to Ukraine to help them defend themselves from attacks from Russia on its southern port city of Odessa. 

Officials have been tight lipped about what specific information was passed along to Ukraine but one official told the New York Times that the information went beyond simply a report on the ship’s location in the Black Sea.

The 600-foot long ship had roughly 500 sailors on board when it was struck, and while some of the crewmembers were evacuated it is still unclear how many Russians were injured or died in the attack. 

The US Navy used its new marine surveillance aircraft to provide accurate targeting data to Ukrainian forces to sink the Russian flagship in the Black Sea on April 13. 

According to The Times, a US marine surveillance P-8 Poseidon aircraft, was tracking Moskva in the hours before it was attacked before supplying its location to the Ukrainian military.

The disclosure of U.S. support in the Moskva strike comes as the White House is under pressure from Republicans to do more to support Ukraine’s resistance and as polls suggest Americans question whether President Joe Biden is being tough enough on Russia.

As the conflict between the countries continues, the Biden administration has ramped up intelligence sharing with Ukraine alongside the shipment of arms and missiles to help it repel Russia’s invasion. 

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion in February, the White House has tried to balance supporting Ukraine, a democratic ally, against not doing anything that would seem to provoke a direct war between Putin and the U.S. and NATO allies.

The disclosure of U.S. support in the Moskva strike comes as the White House is under pressure from Republicans to do more to support Ukraine’s resistance

The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet – the Soviet-era guided missile destroyer Moskva – has suffered heavy damage and may have sunk after Ukraine claimed to have shot it with two anti-ship cruise missiles 


Lt Gen Yakov Rezantsev (left), commander of Russia’s 49th combined army, was killed in a strike near the southern city of Kherson on March 25, whilst Major General Anton Simonov, 55, (right) died during the attack on a Russian army command post in Kharkiv

Speaking earlier Thursday after a New York Times report about the U.S. role in supporting Ukraine’s killing of Russian generals, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said American 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.’

‘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,’ Kirby said. 

The incident that was a high-profile failure for Russia’s military.

Ukraine claimed it fired two Neptun missiles at the Russian warship which was patrolling south of Odesa.

Russia initially claimed the vessel, which had more than 500 crew on board had blown up after a fire onboard.

Later, the Kremlin was forced to admit the vessel – named in honour of the Russian capital – had been taken out by hostile action.

The vessel sank as tugs attempted to tow the crippled warship back to Crimea for repairs. 

News of the US’ role in the sinking of the warship comes as US officials said that of the approximately 12 Russian generals killed by Ukrainian forces, ‘many’ had been targeted with the help of US intelligence.

The New York Times reported that Washington has provided Ukraine real-time battlefield information on Russia’s expected troop movements and the location about Russia’s mobile military headquarters, which relocate often.

Ukraine has combined those details with its own intelligence, which includes intercepted communications that reveal whether senior officers are located within a base, to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian generals.

U.S. officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of American intelligence, the newspaper said.

The US National Security Council slammed the assertion that the United States was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals as ‘irresponsible.’

‘The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help the Ukrainians defend their country,’ NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.

‘We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.’

The heavy loss of high-ranking Russian military officers has stunned Western security officials, who last confirmed an official tally of seven generals in late March, though Ukraine has since announced more.

Among the Russian generals confirmed dead are Major General Anton Simonov, 55, who was killed during an attack on a Russian command post near Kharkiv and Lt General Andrey Mordvichev who was killed in Kherson on March 19.

Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 47, commander of the army’s 150th motorised rifle division, died fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol while Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, was killed on March 7 outside the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Meanwhile Major-General Andrey Kolesnikov, Commander of the Guards Tank Kantemirovskaya Division, was also killed in fighting on March 11 and Major-General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, was killed during a special operation by a sniper on March 3.

In addition, General Magomed Tushaev, a Chechen special forces leader, was killed in an ambush near Hostomel, Lt General Yakov Rezantsev, commander of Russia’s 49th combined army, was killed in a strike near Kherson and Major General Vladimir Frolov died in battle.

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