The United States has been giving Ukraine real-time battlefield intel that directly helped Ukrainian forces kill many of the Russian generals who have died in the Ukraine war, according to a report from the New York Times. Ukraine has previously claimed to have killed at least 12 Russian generals. The report declined to say if all were attributed to the U.S. tipoffs.
The U.S. battlefield intelligence reportedly included locations of the Russian military’s mobile headquarters and anticipated troop movements, according to unnamed U.S. officials.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv last month, has admitted the U.S. wants “to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said “we will not speak to the details of that information,” but acknowledged that the United States provides “Ukraine with information and intelligence that they can use to defend themselves.”
The Kremlin has regularly claimed that Russia is in a proxy war with the U.S.-led west.
The extent of U.S. involvement in Ukraine has been debated from even before Russia’s invasion. President Joe Biden pledged to not involve U.S. troops in the fighting and said their movement in the region would be purely defensive.
“We will not fight a war against Russia in Ukraine,” Biden said in March. “Direct conflict between NATO and Russia is World War III, something we must strive to prevent.”
The Biden administration changed a classified directive last month that lifted geographic limits on actionable information on potential targets in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press reported.
“We have opened up the pipes,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday.
Publicly available data analyzed by independent Russian media suggests at least 317 Russian officers have been killed in Ukraine.
Reuters contributed to this report.