Defense

US has helped Ukraine target Russian generals: report

Senior administration officials told The New York Times on Wednesday that the U.S has provided intelligence to Ukraine’s armed forces and that it has been used to help kill Russian generals who have died during the country’s ongoing war.

While not specifying how many Russian generals have been killed thanks to U.S. assistances, sources told the Times the information was part of a classified program that aims to help Ukrainians provide real-time intel. Ukraine maintains that it has killed 12 Russian generals.

The Times reported that Ukrainian officials have combined location details from the U.S. plus their own intelligence to conduct strikes that have helped kill members of the Russian forces.

Asked about the report, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson acknowledged that the U.S. does provide battlefield intelligence to Ukraine but disputed the way The Times framed its story.

“The headline of this story is misleading and the way it is framed is irresponsible,” Watson said. “The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help the Ukrainians defend their country.  We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.”

Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson for The Times, told The Hill that it stands by the story.

“As with all Times journalism, this story is deeply researched and sourced from discussions with multiple individuals with direct knowledge of the subject. We sought on-record comments from both the National Security Council and the Department of Defense, and included both of these in the story,” he said. “The Times stands behind our reporting as well as the headline, which accurately describes the events reported.”

The sources would not reveal to the Times how the U.S. has gleaned its intel on the location of Russian troops, but the newspaper noted it has used secret and commercial satellite images as some of its sources.

Multiple generals from the Russian army have been killed by Ukrainian forces during the ongoing conflict between the two countries, which began on Feb. 24. 

Most recently, Russian authorities confirmed the death of the commander of the 8th Army, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Petrovich Frolov, last month, saying that he died during infighting with Ukrainian troops, with St. Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov citing the late general as a hero. 

“He sacrificed his life so that children, women and the elderly in the Donbas would no longer hear bomb explosions,” Beglov said in a statement. “To stop waiting for death and leaving home, to say goodbye as if it were the last time.”

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby stressed on Thursday that Ukraine uses intelligence that it gathers, as well as those from the U.S. and other partners, to make battlefield decisions.

“The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help Ukraine defend their country,” Kirby said. “We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military.”

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that they plan to ramp up training sessions with Ukrainian troops as Russian forces mount a new attack on the eastern part of the country, noting that hundreds of troops are being trained on artillery systems, drones and radars. 

— Jordan Williams contributed to this report, which was updated May 5 at 3:54 p.m.

Tags Donbass Russia-Ukraine conflict Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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