Anonymous US officials claimed to NBC News that US intelligence helped Ukraine sink the Russian warship Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
The officials said the Moskva sank on April 14 after Ukraine launched two Neptune anti-ship missiles at the vessel. For their part, the Russians insist the Moskva sank in rough seas after a fire that was caused by an ammunition explosion.
The officials said that Ukraine asked for information about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa that the US identified as the Moskva. The US helped confirm the location of the Moskva, and then the Ukrainians fired on the ship.
According to the officials, the US didn’t know in advance that Ukraine was going to fire on the Moskva and said the US wasn’t involved in the decision-making. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US has expanded its intelligence sharing with Ukraine to help target Russian forces.
The NBC report is the second time in two days that US officials made specific claims on what US intelligence is enabling in the war between Ukraine and Russia. On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that US intelligence was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals.
The Pentagon downplayed the Times report and said the US wasn’t sharing intelligence with Ukraine on the location of Russian military leaders but wouldn’t deny details outlined in the report.
While the claims about the Russian generals and the Moskva aren’t confirmed, they signal an escalation in the US information war against Moscow. Previously, the US had been hesitant to share details of its intelligence sharing with Ukraine over fears of provoking Moscow.