In a later statement to CNN, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, “We did not provide Ukraine with 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. 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.”
But it also raises questions about what the red lines are for the US and Russia when it comes to US military support to Ukraine.
The US has for months provided Ukrainian forces with intelligence about Russian troop movements inside Ukraine, including intercepted communications about Russian military planning. It also provides Ukraine with maritime awareness information to allow the country to better understand the threat posed by Russian ships in the Black Sea, many of which are firing missiles onto Ukrainian territory.
There are also clear limits, however, to what the US will share, multiple sources told CNN.
For example, the US has so far declined to provide information to Ukraine about potential targets inside Russia itself. And while the intelligence the US shares about Russian troop movements inside Ukraine can include details like vehicles and types of personnel at a particular location, the US has not provided Ukraine with intelligence about specific Russian military leaders’ whereabouts, officials have said.
“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,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.
Kirby added that “Ukraine combines information that we and other partners provide with the intelligence that they themselves are gathering on the battlefield, and then they make their own decisions, and they take their own actions.”
Following a series of military and logistical setbacks, Moscow has most recently concentrated efforts on the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has been on the front line of the Russia-Ukraine conflict since 2014.
“For two days now, the enemy has broken into the territory of the plant. There are heavy, bloody battles,” Prokopenko said.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc and Oren LIebermann contributed to this report.