- US officials told the Washington Post there are limits on what intelligence can be shared with Ukraine.
- Intel allowing top Russian commanders and ministers to be targeted is off limits, they said.
- US officials are wary that oversharing intelligence could lead to a wider confrontation with Russia.
US intelligence agencies are not providing Ukraine with information that would enable its forces to assassinate Russia’s most senior commanders and ministers or attack Russia itself, officials told The Washington Post.
The officials told the publication about guidelines over what kind of intelligence can be shared with Ukraine, with two key forms of information sharing prohibited.
Firstly, the US will not share information that could be used to assassinate Russia’s most senior military officials or government officials, including Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, or Sergey Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, the US officials said.
The second form of banned intelligence sharing is anything that would enable Ukraine to attack targets in Russia itself. According to the officials, it is this rule that led the US in March to withdraw support from plans for Poland to supply Ukraine with more fighter jets.
The claims come after a series of fires and explosions at sensitive fuel storage depots and other sites throughout Russia, and speculation that these incidents may be part of a sabotage campaign in Russia by Ukraine.
The intelligence sharing ban does not extend to all Russian military officers, according to the report, with several Russian generals having been killed by Ukraine in targeted assassinations. However, the official said specific location data is not being shared.
In remarks to the Post, one defense official pushed back against a New York Times report claiming that US intelligence had enabled Ukraine to kill the generals, saying that is US is not “actively helping them kill generals of any kind.”
According to the report, there are concerns that if the US is seen to be directly targeting Russia or its top commanders it could provoke a retaliation from the Kremlin and cause a wider conflict.
The report follows controversy over briefings given by US officials to publications including the Post and Times claiming that US intelligence had been used by Ukraine to assassinate Russian generals, and in the sinking of Russia’s Black Sea flagship the Moskva.
President Joe Biden was reportedly furious about the leaks, and made calls to officials including CIA chief William Burns to warn that they risked undermining US operations in Ukraine.