May 5, 2022 - World

EU official warns against "inappropriate communication" on intel-sharing with Ukraine

On the front lines in eastern Ukraine. Photo: Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty

A European official told reporters Thursday that “inappropriate communication” about the intelligence being provided to Ukrainian forces could “trigger an unexpected reaction” from Russia.

Between the lines: The NYT reported Wednesday that intelligence provided by the U.S. had helped Ukraine kill several Russian generals, while NBC reported Thursday that Ukraine used intelligence provided by the U.S. to target the Moskva warship. Both cited anonymous U.S. officials.

  • “We have to be very careful of what we are doing and we have to be very careful of what we are saying” on intelligence-sharing, the European official said, both “for the security of the operation on the ground” and “because we don’t want to go to war with Russia.”
  • The official questioned the NYT's report, arguing that Ukraine had been able to target Russia generals not because of U.S. intelligence but because the Russians were using “former Soviet Union doctrines” that involve sending generals to the front.
  • The Pentagon also pushed back on that report, saying it was not providing intelligence on the locations of senior military officials.

State of play: Russia’s offensive in the Donbas has yielded little progress in recent days, but Russia is moving to strike railroads and other Ukrainian supply lines to blunt the flow of western-supplied arms to the front, a European official briefed reporters Thursday.

  • Ukraine is changing its supply routes daily to reduce its vulnerability, said the official, who was providing an overview of the latest military assessment. Russia’s challenge is “human” (low morale and high casualties) while Ukraine’s is “material,” the official said.
  • The remaining Ukrainian-held areas in the Donbas include rivers and urban areas that could make the fighting more difficult for Russia.
  • If Russia succeeds in taking the remainder of the Donbas, it could push on toward Odessa. But the official said that was unlikely because Russia likely lacks sufficient troops to undertake such a difficult operation.

What's next: “Our main goal is to stop this war as soon as possible and to go into a negotiation,” the official said.

  • Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. set out a more ambitious goal today — to push all Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, Axios' Sophia Cai reports. Some Western countries, particularly the U.K., have made similar statements.
  • Vladimir Putin might give a clue to his own ambitions in his "Victory Day" speech on Monday.

Go deeper: Pentagon details U.S. training of Ukrainian forces

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