Thursday evening was marred by an unverified report that another Russian surface fighter, the guided-missile ship frigate, had been reported. Admiral MakarovA Ukrainian Neptune antiship missile struck the vessel. The same missile was used to sink the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, the guided-missile cruiser. Moskva, last month; read BREAKING. Russian Flagship sinks while being towed to port
It’s seeming more and more likely that the Claims about the Russian Frigate Admiral Makarov being stuck by Ukrainian Anti-Ship Missiles off the Coast of Odessa is True, multiple Rescue Ships and Aircraft are reportedly in the Area with U.S Surveillance Drones keeping eyes on it. pic.twitter.com/JTuAKr1VEd
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) May 6, 2022
BATTLE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: The UK’s ‘Independent’ now reports that the RU Guided Missile Frigate Admiral Makarov is ‘on fire after bing hit by a Ukrainian missile”. No confirmation has been received from either side. https://t.co/UMr7N530Bx pic.twitter.com/Iyedsn0hd2
— Chuck Pfarrer (@ChuckPfarrer) May 6, 2022
This unconfirmed report (can we all please underline the word “unconfirmed”) appeared concurrently with multiple US media stories on the role of US intelligence in sinking the Moskva.
The United States provided Ukraine with intelligence that helped Kyiv attack and sink the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, in one of the most dramatic battlefield successes of the 71-day-old war, according to people familiar with the matter.
The missile strike by Ukrainian forces in April, an extraordinary embarrassment for the Kremlin that deprived Russia of a key vessel in its military campaign, may not have been possible without the U.S. assistance, these people said, underscoring how deeply Washington has become enmeshed in Ukraine’s fight against Russia. While it’s not known how many Russian sailors lost their lives in the attack U.S. officials claim there were substantial casualties.
Despite providing intelligence on the Moskva, the United States had “no prior awareness” of Ukraine’s decision to strike the warship, a U.S. official said. To help Ukraine defend itself against any threats, the official said that the U.S. government has shared maritime awareness with Ukraine. Russian vessels in the Black Sea have been launching missiles at Ukraine — and could be used to support an amphibious assault on the country, the official said.
As they say on Twitter, “lol, wut?”
The notion that you can provide intelligence on the movements of the Russian flagship and not think that at some point someone is going to do more than move pins on a map isn’t the least plausible.
Thursday, I posted on a New York Times story about US intelligence providing targeting information on Russian generals and how that has created Eastern Front levels of lethality for Russian flag officers (see Intelligence Community Claims Responsibility for Killing Russian Generals Because It Didn’t Happen Unless You Know They Did It). My overarching point was that even though Russia “knows” we are providing this sort of intelligence, to me, it seems dysfunctional to hoot-and-holler about how you are doing it. By way of analogy, I’ve known several couples where the husband was engaged in horndoggery, and his wife knew, but she could pretend she didn’t know and keep the marriage going. When the spouse’s affair was exposed to others and her inability to look away, that is where things went wrong. Then, the vicious and nasty divorce lawyers intervened.
The New York Times edition of the US intelligence report contributing to the sinking Moskva, U.S. Intelligence Helped Ukraine Strike Russian Flagship, Officials Say, provides some insight, or at least plausible spin, on what the intelligence community thinks it is accomplishing. Oddly enough, the byline is the same three reporters who wrote about the US role in offing Putin’s generals.
Although the administration remains wary of provoking Mr. Putin to the point that he further escalates his attacks — President Biden has said he will not send American troops to Ukraine or establish a “no-fly zone” there — current and former officials said the administration found some value in warning Russia that Ukraine had the weight of the United States and NATO behind it.
Moscow officials stated that it had to make its own calculations, such as whether it was capable of handling a more extensive war.
Philips P. O’BrienSome insights from Professor of Strategic Studies at University of St. Andrews.
You may be wondering about the US intelligence stories that have appeared about the US helping Ukraine target Russian warships and generals. This information was clearly obtained from US intelligence sources. This is the story about how the US helped to sink the Moskva.
This story is the best. Basically the leaks are deliberate US attempts to let Putin know that the ‘weight’ of the US and NATO are behind Ukraine. Iot was a defiant warning to Russia to stop escalating.
It’s certainly an escalation of a type by the Biden Administration, which indicates, one assumes, that they believe the Russians really are not likely to escalate themselves to tactical nukes. Putin has every reason to escalate, they are certain.
It fits a pattern. It fits a pattern.
If the Russians don’t start making a major deal of one of the most well known papers in the US saying that the US government is deliberately assisting the killing of Russian generals or the sinking of Russian warships, it’s probably safe to conclude Putin doesn’t want escalation.
There is a certain “boiling the frog” logic to this.
The initial weapons transfer to Ukraine was defensive. Russia was silent. More recent weapons transfers–those of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and modern artillery–are the basis for offensive action—no action from Moscow. Britain provided anti-ship rockets. Russia is still not taking any actions. If the intelligence leaks are viewed as a way of seeing what it takes before Russia does something while, at the same time, putting Russia on notice that it is facing the entire military and economic power of the West (I know, I know, the Sino–Russia alliance will supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency and dominate the world).
From the Washington Post’s article, this is the response of Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov to the US-Ukraine intelligence-sharing operation.
“The [United States] provides battlefield intelligence to help the Ukrainians defend their country,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement Tuesday. “We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.”
It is an obscure legal distinction, but it may be of little use to Russian leaders. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that the Russian military is “well aware that the United States, Great Britain and NATO as a whole are constantly transmitting intelligence and other parameters to the Ukrainian armed forces.”
“This is well known, and of course, coupled with the flow of weapons that these countries and the alliance are sending to Ukraine — these are all actions that, let’s say, are not enabling a speedy completion of the operation,” said Peskov, who added that the West nevertheless wasn’t capable of preventing Russia from achieving its stated goals.
Asked if Russia would take specific measures in reaction to any intelligence-sharing that led to the deaths of Russian generals, Peskov said, “Of course, Russian forces are doing everything necessary in this situation,” according to state news agency RIA Novosti.
The Russians have so far resisted attacking NATO convoys in Ukraine and are not trying to alter their Black Sea air defense position. In fact, all evidence says that even though Russia is talking smack about “consequences,” its actions show it is unwilling to escalate the conflict.
As I said, that’s the plausible spin. That’s what I hope is going on. I just hope it isn’t a strategy we’ve backed into because Intelligence Community bureaucrats were fighting for attention and dollars by leaking to the press.