Officials say US intelligence helped Ukraine sink Russian flagship Moskva

The intelligence shared between the United States helped Ukraine The sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva, US officials told NBC News, underscored a US role as perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s turbulent invasion of Ukraine.

Guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It sank on April 14 after being hit by two Ukrainian Neptunes anti-ship missilesUS officials said. Moscow said the ship sank after a fire broke out. The Moskva was the largest Russian warship sunk in combat since World War II. American officials said that there were heavy losses in the ranks of the Russians, but they did not know how many.

The attack occurred after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odessa, US officials told NBC News. The US identified it as Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.

Officials said the United States did not know in advance that Ukraine would target Moskva, and was not involved in the decision to strike. Officials added that naval intelligence is being shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack by Russian ships.

The US role in the sinking has not been previously reported. But NBC News Hinge In the past month, how useful US intelligence shared with Ukraine has been in Ukraine’s successes thus far, including helping Ukraine target Russian forces and avert Russian attacks.

Smoke rises from the damaged Russian ship Moskva on April 15, 2022.OSINT Technical via Twitter

US officials have expressed concerns that reports about US intelligence sharing with Ukraine could anger Putin and lead to an unexpected response.

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The White House did not immediately provide comment to NBC News.

The disclosure of Moskva comes on the heels Reports It was reported by The New York Times that intelligence provided by the United States helped Ukraine in some cases kill Russian generals. US officials did not dispute this, but vigorously rejected the impression that the United States was providing explicit information with the intent of striking at Russian military leaders.

“We do not provide intelligence on the locations of senior military commanders on the battlefield,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Thursday, adding that the United States shares intelligence with Ukrainian forces but does not tell them who or what to attack.

Current US policy explicitly prohibits the sharing of lethal targeting information about Russian civilian and military leaders, two US officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The Moskva was considered Russia’s most lethal warship, as it was filled with cannons and missile systems, some of which were designed to defend it from any attack. The credible account of its exposure and sinking of anti-ship missiles was widely seen as a profound humiliation for the Russian military.

In the early days of the war, Moskva was part of what became an iconic incident, when officers aboard ordered Ukrainian border guards on Ukrainian Snake Island to surrender.

The guards answered: “Russian warship, go on your own.”

They were arrested and then released in a prisoner exchange.

The sinking of the Moskva has reignited a long-running debate among naval experts about the vulnerability of ships to missiles and kamikaze drones.

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In the aftermath, the Russian Navy withdrew from the Ukrainian coast, US defense officials told NBC News.

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