The White House responded Friday afternoon to a report alleging that Ukraine used U.S. intel to sink the Russian warship Moskva in April.
“Well, let me first say, to speak to the reports: They’re inaccurate,” Psaki said. “We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva.”
The report on the alleged role of the U.S. in the sinking of the Russian flagship dropped Thursday afternoon when NBC published a story, claiming officials disclosed that Ukraine used U.S. intelligence to fire upon the Russian warship. The Moskva was reportedly hit by Ukrainian missiles on April 13 and sank the next day.
According to the report, officials told NBC News that they did not know Ukraine would use U.S. intelligence to attack the Russian warship. The officials also confirmed that the U.S. was not involved in any decision to launch missiles at the Moskva. “Maritime intelligence is shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack from Russian ships, officials added,” according to NBC.
“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News,” the news outlet reported Thursday. “The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”
The White House is now trying to cast doubt on the report, claiming Ukraine has its own intelligence to carry out operations against Russian aggression. “We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out,” Psaki told reporters. “We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case.”
Psaki admitted that the U.S. provides Ukraine with intelligence “to help them understand the threat posed by Russian ships in the Black Sea,” but according to Psaki, the administration believes the report is “an inaccurate over-claiming of our role and an under-claiming of the role of the Ukrainians who, frankly, have a greater level of intelligence and access to intelligence than we do.”