The US is sharing intelligence with Ukraine about the Russian invasion “in real time”, the White House confirmed.
“We have been sharing it real time,” press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
“Without getting too far into details of what we do, for obvious reasons, we have consistently been sharing intelligence that includes information the Ukrainians can use to inform and develop their military response to Russia’s invasion,” she added. “That has been ongoing and reports that suggest otherwise are inaccurate.”
The admission appears to contradict statements from other US leaders, who have said America is not sharing real-time intel with Ukraine to avoid getting directly involved in the war with Russia.
“That steps over the line to making us participating in the war,” representative Adam Smith, House Armed Services Committee chairman, said on Thursday.
The Independent has reached out to the White House for clarification.
Experts have praised the US intelligence community’s accurate predictions that Russia would invade Ukraine under false pretenses.
“For the first time in a long time, American intelligence agencies were thinking strategically, looking out over the horizon, as opposed to reporting what happened five minutes ago,” CIA historian Tim Weiner told CNN. “The result was a clear and prescient picture of Putin’s intentions toward Ukraine.”
A key part of the intelligence strategy around the Ukraine crisis has been what experts call selective declassification, the strategic release of intelligence information that helps discredit the Russia war effort.
Russia is “going to lie anyway, and try and shape a narrative”, Michael van Landingham, a former CIA Russia analyst, told Yahoo News. “And what you’re seeing now is the US committing to preemptive selective de-classification.”
Such releases have included disclosures that Russian president Vladimir Putin was moving special operations forces to Ukraine, that Russia was planning a potential false flag attack to justify its invasion, and that some Russian officers had doubts about the wisdom of the war.
“We have learned a lot, especially since 2014, about how Russia uses the information space as part of its overall security and military apparatus,” Emily J Horne, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, toldThe New York Times in February. “And we have learned a lot about how to deny them some impact in that space.”
Whether such disclosures and intelligence-sharing will make a difference on the battlefield is another matter, where Ukraine’s armed forces are vastly outnumbered by the Russian military, which is now massing its forces around Kyiv.
A well-organised and resolute Ukrainian defence effort has slowed the Russian invasion, prompting Mr Putin to shift towards a strategy of “slow annihilation” of Ukraine’s military and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, US officials told CNN.
“The cruel military math of this will eventually come to bear, absent some intervention, absent some fundamental change in the dynamic,” a senior Western intelligence official said.