The sinking of Russia's Black Sea flagship last month was the biggest loss any navy has suffered in decades—and American intelligence played a role, NBC reports, citing senior US officials. The officials say Ukrainian authorities requested and received information about a ship sailing south of Odesa, and missiles were fired after American intelligence confirmed the ship was the Moskva and gave the Ukrainians its location. Some US officials tell the New York Times that the Ukrainians already had the targeting data and the US provided only confirmation, though others say American intelligence had a bigger role in the April 14 sinking.
The Kremlin has denied the ship was even hit by missiles, saying it sank while being towed to port after an unexplained fire. The US has acknowledged sharing intelligence with Ukraine, but after the NBC and Times reports, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US had not supplied "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."
Kirby also denied reports the US has contributed to the high death toll among Russian generals, saying "intelligence on the location of senior military leaders on the battlefield or participate in the targeting decisions of the Ukrainian military," the BBC reports. There were unconfirmed reports early Friday that another Russian warship, the Admiral Makarov, was on fire after being hit by a Ukrainian missile, per the Independent. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)