Former spies and diplomats say Biden administration must ‘shut up’ after NYT report on US intelligence services helping Ukraine kill Russian generals

Putin Shoigu Gerasimov

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army, September 13, 2021.Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Former US officials have said the Biden administration must “shut up” about intelligence sharing with Ukraine.

  • It came after an NYT report said US intelligence was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals.

  • A veteran diplomat said discussing intelligence used for targeting would bolster Putin’s propaganda that Russia is a victim.

In recent days, former US officials and diplomats have sharply criticized the Biden administration for a report from the New York Times based on conversations with senior officials who said US intelligence was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals.

“Shut up about it,” said John Sipher, a former CIA officer who served in Russia, in a tweet on the Times report.

Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia, in a tweet responding to Sipher mentioned“Exactly. No one should talk to the press about such things.”

In a similar tone, former US diplomat Aaron David Miller tweeted that the “every change of tone” after Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visit to Ukraine is “disturbing”.

“Weakening of Russia; victory; and now @NYT stories about killing Russian generals. Why can’t we just shut up?” said Miller.

The NYT and NBC News information-sharing reports suggested, without specifying, that the United States was sharing intelligence so precise—such as high-resolution images or transmissions made by radar or radio—that the military Ukrainian could use them to plan strikes. The NYT reported that the “White House finds some value in warning Russia that Ukraine has the clout of the United States and NATO behind it,” but the Pentagon has insisted it does not provide not the location of Russian generals to Ukraine and has no role in Ukrainian decisions on where to strike.

After a trip to kyiv last month, Austin told reporters“We want to see Russia weakened to the point that it can’t do the kinds of things it did by invading Ukraine.”

Austin’s candid comments came weeks after President Joe Biden was accused of calling for regime change in Russia after he said Russian President Vladimir Putin “can’t stay in power.” The White House rushed to clarify Biden’s remarks, indicating“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to wield power over his neighbors or the region. He was not talking about Putin’s power in Russia or regime change.”

Following Austin’s comments, a spokesperson for the National Security Council in a statement to CNN said“We want Ukraine to win,” adding, “One of our goals has been to limit Russia’s ability to do something like this again, as Secretary Austin said. That’s why we’re arming Ukrainians.”

The Russian warship

The Russian warship “Moskva” (“Moscow”), a Slava-class guided missile cruiser, off the Black Sea coast in 2014.Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

In the wake of the explosive story of The Times, a separate report from NBC News said US intelligence also helped Ukraine sink the Moskva – a missile cruiser and the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Richard Haass, veteran diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a tweet responding to reports on the Moskva said he could not “understand why US officials are discussing US aid to Ukraine to sink Russian ships or kill its generals”.

Haass warned that “it reinforces Putin’s narrative that Russia is a victim” while distracting “attention from the reality of Russian aggression and incompetence against Ukraine.”

The Biden administration has forcefully pushed back against the idea that it explicitly provided intelligence to Ukraine for the purpose of eliminating specific people or targets.

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Wednesday that the Times report was written in a “irresponsible” way.

“The United States provides battlefield intelligence to help Ukrainians defend their country. We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals,” Watson added.

Similarly, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the United States “does not provide intelligence on the location of senior military officials on the battlefield or participate in targeting decisions. Ukrainian army”.

Kirby, in a statement, said the United States had not provided Ukraine with “specific targeting information for the Moskva,” according to NBC.

“We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out,” Kirby continued, adding, “We had no prior knowledge of the intent of the attack. Ukraine to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian Navy ships, as they did in this case.”

The Biden administration has said reports of information sharing in the United States were the result of leaks. “Leaks like this and stories like this, they’re of no use in helping Ukraine defend itself,” Kirby told CNN Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov appeared to brush off reports of US intelligence sharing with Ukraine.

The Russian military is “well aware that the United States, Britain and NATO as a whole constantly pass intelligence and other parameters to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Peskov told reporters on Thursday. Reuters reported.

Peskov said the intelligence sharing, combined with the weapons the West is giving Ukraine, does not “contribute to the speedy conclusion” of Russia’s war. But he added that it would also not hamper Russia’s ability to achieve its goals in Ukraine.

Contrary to Peskov’s claims, which were in line with Moscow’s optimistic war propaganda, the Russian military has struggled to make any significant gains in Ukraine since Putin ordered the invasion in late February. It is estimated that Russia lost up to 15,000 soldiers. After failing to take kyiv, Russia turned its attention to the eastern region of Donbass.

Read the original article at Business Intern

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