US officials reveal intelligence shared by the Americans helped Ukraine in locating and attacking Russia's black sea fleet flagship. The Moskva sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles.
The Americans "provided a range of intelligence" in pin-pointing the whereabouts of the Russian missile cruiser to the Ukrainian forces. The officials stated that the assistance provided is a small part of an ongoing confidential plan by the Biden administration to supply real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine.
The endeavor also incorporates intelligence sharing on probable troop movements of Russian forces, obtained from a recent evaluation conducted on Moscow's strategy for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
US officials told NBC News the attack occurred after Ukrainian forces inquired the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa and after receiving the confirmation that the ship was indeed a Russian flagship, Ukrainian forces on the ground fired two Neptune missiles, striking the Moskva and igniting a fire that eventually led to the sinking of the warship.
Therefore, it was clear that Ukraine had already acquired the ship's targeting data on its own and was only awaiting official confirmation from the US. The latter was neither aware of the attack until after it was completed nor was it involved in the decision to strike, the American officials stated.
After the attack, no announcement or declaration came from the administration. It was only in these past few days, that a confirmation of the American intelligence being supplied hours before the attack was made, CNBC reported.
There have been no clarifications or statements made by the American officials to describe the specific information that was shared, but one official stated the information far exceeded a simple report on the ship's location in the Black Sea. In an effort to not provoke the Russian President and incite an even bigger war, the administration decided to share maritime and battlefield intelligence covertly to the Ukrainian forces.
The attack on the Moskva was a significant loss to the Russian navy. The country continues to deny the Ukrainian effort in sinking the warship, instead it claims 'an unexplained fire and choppy seas' were a contributing factor.
As per the NY post, the revelation of the American role in the sinking of the Moskva comes after the administration tackles rising political pressures to boost efforts in supporting Ukraine. Pentagon's strategy was recently questioned when a New York Times report said US intelligence was allowed Kyiv to kill a dozen Russian generals.
This was denied by the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, as he explained, "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 elaborated that Ukraine has its own sources of gathering intelligence, they combine the data received and then, "make their own decisions and they take their own actions."