Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Thursday pushed back on a report from The New York Times that said the US provided intelligence that allowed Ukraine to target and kill Russian generals.
“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,” Kirby said.
“Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering, and then they make their own decisions and they take their own actions,” he added.
The Times report cited anonymous senior US officials who said the US was able to give Ukraine the location of Russia’s mobile military headquarters. The officials said that information, combined with Ukraine’s own intelligence, allowed them to target Russian generals.
When asked if the details from the Times report were false, Kirby declined to answer and wouldn’t elaborate on US intelligence sharing. “I am not going to talk about intelligence sharing from this podium,” he said.
National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson downplayed the report and criticized the Times for the way it presented the information. “The headline of this story is misleading and the way it is framed is irresponsible,” Watson told The Hill. “The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help the Ukrainians defend their country. We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.”
Ukraine has claimed to have killed 12 Russian generals in the war, but the number is not confirmed, and Kyiv has a reason to exaggerate its success against Russia. The US officials speaking to the Times also wouldn’t say how many Russian generals were killed as a result of US intelligence sharing.
Whether or not the Times report is true, the claims from US officials are still a major provocation against Moscow. Responding to the report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it is “well known” that the US is sharing intelligence with Ukraine and said it wouldn’t stop Moscow from achieving its goals.
“Our military knows well that the United States, Britain, and NATO permanently supply the Ukrainian army with intelligence data and other parameters. This is well-known,” Peskov said, according to Russia’s Tass news agency. “At the same time, [such actions] are unable to prevent the achievement of the special military operation’s goals.”