The U.S. provided intelligence that helped Ukraine sink the Moskva, Russia’s flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, several media outlets report.
Unnamed officials said Ukraine had asked the U.S. about a ship sailing to the south of Odesa. The U.S. said it was the Moskva and helped confirm its location. Ukraine then struck it with two missiles, the BBC reports.
The Pentagon has not commented. But a spokesman said the U.S. gave intelligence to help Ukraine defend itself.
The unnamed U.S. officials quoted in media reports said they did not know that Ukraine would target the Moskva after helping determine its location.
The 510-crew missile cruiser had reportedly led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine.
At the time, the Russian defence ministry said ammunition on board the Moskva exploded in an unexplained fire, and the ship tipped over while being towed back to port.
The U.S. is yet to directly address the reports about the Moskva. However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied earlier media reports that the U.S. was providing information about the 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 U.S. 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) also denied that the U.S. was helping Ukraine target senior Russian officers. “We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.