A short story, but one with impact, emerged this week from a New York Times report which alleges that intelligence shared by the United States with Ukraine has been used to kill Russian generals. According to the article, “The United States has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in action in the Ukraine war, according to senior American officials.” Ukraine claims so far to have killed 12 Russian generals since the start of the invasion in February.
Response to the Times’ report came quickly. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson reportedly stated in an e-mail to Agence France-Presse, “We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.” The Pentagon also wasted no time in addressing “the issue of intelligence sharing with Ukraine.” During Thursday’s press briefing, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby clarified, “the United States provides battlefield intelligence to help Ukrainians defend their country,” adding that “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.”
Whether or not the United States is indeed complicit in the deaths of Russian generals, its role in arming and funding Ukraine cannot be contested. A report provided by the Congressional Research Service details the total amount of aid provided to Ukraine thus far. From the time of Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014 through April of this year, the United States has provided more than $6.4 billion in security assistance. Included in that figure is $3.7 billion dollars committed by President Biden since February of this year alone. According to the Department of Defense, security assistance committed to Ukraine includes more than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems, 5,500 Javelin anti-armor systems, 90 155 Howitzers with 184,000 artillery rounds, 16 Mi-17 helicopters, hundreds of Armored Humvee vehicles, and more.
The continued flow of aid and the questionable intelligence sharing begs the question… is the United States fighting a proxy war with Russia? And what will Russia do about it?