The US Department of Defense on Thursday denied providing information that enabled Ukrainian forces to attack senior Russian officers near the front lines, the New York Times claimed.
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It is true that the United States is sending intelligence elements to Kyiv “to help the Ukrainians defend their country,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
However, he added: “We do not release information about the whereabouts of high-ranking military commanders on the battlefield, nor do we participate in targeting decisions by the Ukrainian military.”
The New York Times, on the other hand, said on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources within the American services, that the information provided by the United States to the Ukrainian army enabled it to attack several Russian generals near the front lines.
The newspaper quoted several senior US officials as saying that of the dozen Russian generals killed by Ukrainian forces, “many” were targeted with the help of US intelligence.
The US National Security Council (NSC) had previously called claims that the US was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals “irresponsible”.
“The United States is providing battlefield intelligence to help Ukrainians defend their country,” NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told AFP in an email.
“We are not providing information with the intention of killing Russian generals,” she stressed.
Washington’s intelligence efforts to provide close-quarters assistance to Ukraine in the fighting have included “a focus on determining the location and other details of the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which moves regularly,” writes the New York Times.
On Monday, the Pentagon officially reported that Russia’s chief of staff Valery Gerasimov spent “several days” on the front lines in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region last week, suggesting that Russia’s top military officials are closing in on the fighting.
But the Pentagon had not confirmed the injury rumors about Valeri Guerasimov.