‘US provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink Russia’s Moskva warship’
American intelligence on targeting the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in mid-April is part of the Biden administration’s classified effort to give real-time battlefield information to Ukrainian forces, US officials told The New York Times.
It signals the administration loosening its own limitations on how much it helps Ukraine in fighting off Russia’s invasion.
Two senior US officials said that Ukraine got data on targeting the Moskva on its own, and that the information was merely confirmed by Americans. However, other officials told the newspaper that US intelligence played a significant role in taking the warship down.
The Moskva sank on April 14 after two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles hit it, US officials said earlier. The ship carried 510 people and Russia suffered significant casualties, the exact number of which US officials do not know.
Ukrainian forces asked the US about a ship in the Black Sea south of the port city of Odesa. The US identified the ship as the Moskva and helped confirm its location, allowing Ukraine to target it, US officials told NBC News on Thursday.
The officials added that the US did not take part in Ukraine’s decision to launch missiles at the Moskva and that it was not aware of the targeted attack ahead of time. The US has provided maritime intelligence Ukraine so it can defend itself from Russian attacks, they said.
Following the sinking, Ukraine and Russia offered conflicting accounts of the incident. Ukraine said it struck the Moskva with two Neptune missiles about 60 miles off the coast of Odesa. Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that a fire aboard the ship caused munitions to explode.
Before it sunk, the Moskva made headlines when it threatened to bomb Snake Island and a Ukrainian soldier recorded himself saying, ‘go f*** yourself, Russian warship’.
Ukraine’s strike showed the sovereign country’s capability of deterring Russia’s advances through agile tactics.
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