US President Joe Biden recently told his top national security officials that leaks about US intelligence sharing with Ukrainians are not helpful and must stop, according to an official familiar with the conversation.
Last week, after the White House denied providing direct intelligence to Ukrainians ‘with the intent to kill Russian generals’, Biden spoke separately with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the director of the CIA William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
He told them it was not helpful for information to be made public about what the United States shared with Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invasion, an official said, and stressed that leaks of such information had to stop.
Biden’s message to his top national security officials was first reported by NBC News.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that the president was “unhappy” with the leaks and considered them “inaccurate.”
PSAKI, who declined to confirm calls between the president and his team, told reporters that Biden’s view “was that it was an overstatement of our role, an inaccurate statement, and also an understatement of the role of the Ukrainians and their leadership, and he does not, did not, (thought) they were constructive.”
US officials were candid about sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians, but also said there was a line in what was shared with them. In addition to sending weapons to the battlefield, officials also provided intelligence “to help Ukrainians defend their country,” a spokesman for the National Security Council said last week.
Administration officials have previously insisted there are clear limits on the intelligence it shares with Ukraine, including a ban on providing specific targeting intelligence to senior Russian leaders by name. These limits are part of a White House effort to avoid crossing a line that Moscow might consider too escalating.
But the intelligence-sharing efforts have proven useful. The intelligence so far has contributed to successful strikes against senior Russian leaders and the Russian Navy’s flagship Moskva, sources familiar with the intelligence sharing previously told CNN.
So far, Russia has taken no known direct action against the United States or NATO in response to ongoing military and intelligence support.
US officials must have speculated as to why Moscow held back, particularly regarding cyberattacks, which the US warned before the war that Russia could use as retaliation for US aid. Nor has Russia moved to hit Kyiv during visits from a host of top US leaders, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Nor has the country attempted to strike at arms shipments transiting through Poland, a NATO country. Only recently has Russia begun targeting railways inside Ukraine, suspected of carrying Western weapons into combat.
In addition to sharing intelligence, the United States has also provided billions in aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
Last week, Biden announced a $150 million package including 25,000 155mm artillery shells, counter-artillery radars, jamming equipment and field equipment and spare parts, an official says. of the White House.
Biden has proposed a new $33 billion aid package for Ukraine, which he sent to Congress last month. The United States has made clear that it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine, and the package offered last week was more than double the $13.6 billion injection of military and humanitarian aid that Congress approved last month.
This story was updated with additional details on Monday.