The US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Moskva, Russia’s flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, officials told NBC News.
Unnamed officials said Ukraine had asked the US about a ship sailing to the south of Odessa. The US said it was the Moskva and helped confirm its location. Ukraine then struck it with two missiles.
Carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. It sank on April 14th after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, US officials said. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire.
The Moskva was the largest Russian warship sunk in combat since World War II. American officials said there were significant Russian casualties, but they don’t know how many.
US says they were unaware Ukraine would target the Moskva
The unnamed US officials quoted in the NBC report said they did not know that Ukraine would target the Moskva after helping determine its location.
The US is yet to directly comment on reports about the Moskva.
However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied earlier media reports that the US was providing information about locations of senior Russian generals on the battlefield so that Ukrainian forces could kill them.
“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,” he said.
Kirby said Ukraine combined information that the US and others provided with their own battlefield intelligence. “Then they make their own decisions, and they take their own actions,” he said.
The White House National Security Council (NSC) has also denied the US was helping Ukraine target senior Russian officers. “We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.
Related: Greeks and Cypriots Least Prepared to Blame Russia for War
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