(ZH) — Less than 24 hours after The New York Times issued a provocative report citing unnamed US officials who are celebrating that American intelligence-sharing with Ukraine's military has helped take out multiple Russian generals since the Feb.24 invasion, NBC Newsis out with yet another bombshell claim sourced to the deep state US intel officials.
Amid what seems escalation after escalation, and new revelations of Washington's deepening and perhaps increasingly direct role in fighting Russia in Ukraine, NBCbrings us this doozy... "Intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, U.S. officials told NBC News, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion of Ukraine."
As a reminder of just how hugely significant the claim is - and just how dangerous in terms of representing a massive escalation - the Moskva was considered the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, had 510 crewmen on board before Neptune anti-cruise ship missiles scored a direct hit in mid-April, and was the most embarrassing single blow to President Putin's war effort of the whole conflict thus far.'
"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 report continues. "The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship." This comes after the NY Times revealed in a report the night prior that much of the intel-sharing is focused on Russian troop and equipment movements.
According to further details based on anonymous US senior officials:
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The U.S. did not know in advance that Ukraine was going to target the Moskva, officials said, and was not involved in the decision to strike. Maritime intelligence is shared with Ukraine to help it defend against attack from Russian ships, officials added.
The U.S. role in the sinking has not been previously reported.
Biden admin officials in the days after the Moskva sinking had been relatively silent, possibly suggesting that they knew more about the details than what their quiet public stance let on.
The April 15 event had initially also been met with lack of answers from Moscow as it attempted to deal with the crisis of its flagship missile cruiser sinking to the bottom of the Black Sea after it was hit off Odessa, and as it later said all the crew were evacuated. However some Ukrainian and Western officials said the ship suffered casualties.
It goes without saying that this fresh NBC report will be viewed by Moscow as an outrageous acknowledged escalation by Washington, though so far Russian leadership's public response has been rather muted...
The Kremlin had previously warned it would hold external countries supplying arms and other forms of assistance "responsible" - and that "decision-making" centers including Kiev would come under increased attack. Meanwhile, cruise missile strikes even as far west as Lviv do appear to be expanding this week.
Indeed it seems that these intentional "leaks" to the media, likely as part of a deliberate strategy of seeking to intimidate Russia in hopes it will more quickly back off its military operations, will instead only serve to ratchet things further as broader great power tensions hit boiling point.