What is the role of US secret services in the war in Ukraine?

What role do US secret services play in the war in Ukraine? Very large, according to observers.

It is alleged that the cruiser “Moscow” was sunk with the help of American intelligence. For Washington, the topic is quite delicate, writes Deutsche Welle.

When the New York Times headline appeared on Twitter, former CIA agent Philip Mudd simply froze. The US secret services are helping Ukraine kill Russian generals, the newspaper said. And Mudd, who is also a CNN secret service expert, wondered, “What’s going on here? No intelligence is usually used for targeted killings.”

Hours later, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied the allegations. He said the United States was providing Ukraine with intelligence from the battlefield. But he stressed: “We do not provide information on the whereabouts of high-ranking Russian officers on the battlefield, nor do we participate in the decision-making of Ukrainian attacks.”
Ukraine claims that twelve high-ranking Russian officers have been killed since the start of the war. According to the New York Times, US intelligence has played a crucial role in this. For example, the American intelligence services had provided the Ukrainians with real-time data – not only on the movement of troops but also on the location of the mobile headquarters of the Russians.

Kirby: Ukraine has a lot of its information

Pentagon spokesman Kirby sought to downplay the role of US intelligence. The Ukrainians themselves had much more of their information. In the end, it was their territory. And their secret services were very capable.

According to him, the Ukrainians combined the information they receive from the United States and other sources. “And then they make their own decisions and act accordingly.”

“We are not telling them: General X is moving now, General X is now at this command post and if you attack him you will be able to kill him. But we say: We will give you information about how the Russians are waging war, including the location of tanks or command posts. Act! Just like in any armed conflict. ” This is how secret service expert Philip Mudd explains the difference in the transmission of information.

According to American media, the US secret services have played a decisive role in the most serious military loss of Russia so far. In mid-April, the Russian navy’s flagship, the Moscow cruiser, was sunk after being hit by Ukrainian missiles.
According to the New York Times and NBC television, citing anonymous government officials, the US secret services had confirmed to the Ukrainians before the attack that it was “Moscow”. However, the United States did not know in advance that Ukraine intended to attack the ship. It is estimated that 250 Russian soldiers died aboard the sunken cruiser.

For the US government, the issue is extremely delicate: on the one hand, it wants to provide Ukraine with the best possible military support, but on the other hand, it does not want to take part in the war. What’s more, deliberate killings in war are permissible under international law, but remain a huge ethical issue for the secret services and their staff, says former intelligence officer Mudd.

About the “low competence of the Russians”

But how did the Ukrainians manage to kill so many senior Russian officers on the battlefield? Former CIA head of Russia Steve Hall told CNN that this was due not so much to US intelligence as to the low competence of the Russians.

The Russian armed forces were not flexible, and front-line officers had too little power and freedom of action, Hall said. In case of problems, the generals arrived on the spot, which made them easy targets, he added. In addition, the fighting spirit of the Russian troops was weak, many soldiers called their girlfriends at home on mobile phones, and this also greatly facilitated the work of Ukrainian intelligence.

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