Guidelines designed to prop up kyiv while keeping US out of war, officials tell Washington Post
The United States has crafted intelligence-sharing rules with Ukraine that would give Washington plausible deniability while providing kyiv with as much information as possible to attack the Russian military. That’s according to the Washington Post, citing unnamed officials on Wednesday, after days of media statements about the extent of US involvement in the conflict.
The United States is providing kyiv with real-time information on the location and movements of Russian forces, including satellite imagery and intelligence from “sensitive” sources, U.S. and Ukrainian officials told the outlet. A Ukrainian described the information as “Very good. He tells us where the Russians are so that we can hit them.
Last week, however, the anonymous officials apparently shared a little too much with the media, blaming US intelligence for the – alleged – Ukrainian missile launch at the Russian cruiser Moskva in April. On Friday, NBC News reported that President Joe Biden personally told the CIA and the Pentagon to stop leaking to the media, calling it counterproductive.
Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin reacted to the report by saying that the United States was directly involved in the hostilities in Ukraine and that its leadership should be added to “the list of war criminals”.
Officials who spoke to the Post were eager to explain that the United States had technically not crossed that line. The White House has prohibited the sharing of two types of intelligence, they said. The first is “detailed information that would help Ukraine kill leading Russian figures, such as the highest-ranking military officers or ministers”, but not generals in the field. The second prohibited category includes any information relating to targets on Russian territory, and is “intended in part to prevent the United States from becoming a party to attacks that Ukraine may launch inside Russia”, according to La Poste.
Both rules appear to respond to recent Western media reports claiming that US intelligence helped the Ukrainians sink the Moskva and kill several Russian generals.
While the United States is “limit ourselves to strategic leadership on paper”, it’s not “actively help [Ukrainians] kill generals of all kinds,” a senior Pentagon official reportedly told the Post. So if a particular general is spotted somewhere, the US won’t tell Ukraine – but will share information on the location of command and control facilities, where senior Russian generals tend to be. present, other officials said. According to their explanation, if Ukraine then chose to attack such a facility and kill a Russian general in the process, technically the United States would not have “target” he and Washington’s hands would be clean.
A similar fallacy was invoked in the Pentagon’s official explanation of the US role in the alleged attack on the Moskva, with officials saying only that US intelligence services “helped confirm” the identity of the ship to the Ukrainians, which would have led to the decision to use the rare Neptune missiles against the cruiser. According to kyiv and the Pentagon, the Ukrainian army fired two Neptunes and hit the Moskva. Russia said the cruiser was damaged in an explosion of ammunition on board and then sank in rough seas.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the republics from the Donbass of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.