The Pentagon spokesman denied that the United States is providing intelligence to the Ukrainian military to assist them in killing Russian military leaders.

"We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military," John Kirby told reporters Thursday, though the Department of Defense is providing intelligence to the Ukrainians.

Kirby’s denial came a day after the New York Times reported that intelligence the U.S. has provided to Ukraine has led to the killing of as many as 12 Russian generals. The number of generals killed was attributed to unnamed Ukrainian officials.


"Ukrainians have, quite frankly, a lot more information than we do," Kirby added. "This is their country, their territory, and they have capable intelligence collection abilities of their own. Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering on the battlefield. And then they make their own decisions, and they take their own actions."

The intelligence the U.S. has provided to Ukraine has been a vital part of the latter's ability to prevent Russia from toppling Kyiv, the capital, and to hold Russian forces off in the Donbas.

"We would still assess that Ukrainians are putting up a very stiff resistance and that the Russians have not made the progress that we believe they expected to make by this point" in the Donbas, Kirby said.

Kirby later released a statement pushing back on a report in which U.S. officials claimed the U.S. provided intelligence to Ukraine to help sink the Russian flagship Moskva last month.

"We did not provide Ukraine with specific targeting information for the Moskva. We were not involved in the Ukrainians’ decision to strike the ship or in the operation they carried out,” Kirby said. "We had no prior knowledge of Ukraine’s intent to target the ship. The Ukrainians have their own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case."

Following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's trip to Ukraine with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Austin said the U.S. wanted Ukraine to weaken Russia's military to the point at which they can't conduct similar military operations.

"We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," Austin told reporters. "So it has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability."

Near the beginning of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, which commenced Feb. 24, U.S. intelligence provided to the Ukrainians helped thwart a Russian aerial operation that was meant to result in Russian forces taking control of Hostomel Airport near Kyiv, according to a report from NBC News last month. Had Russia been able to capture the airport fully — it did for a short time — it could’ve used it to solve many of its supply and logistical problems.


Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, described the intelligence sharing going on between the two countries as "arguably" the "most successful intelligence operation in military history" during a House Armed Services Committee hearing April 5, while CIA Director William Burns told the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “We have done intensive intelligence sharing, and we continue to with the Ukrainians, including when I saw President Zelensky in January in Kyiv."