The United States is continuing to provide real-time intelligence to Ukraine to help it counter Russia’s invasion, U.S. officials said, but a lawmaker said it did not include precise targeting information.
U.S. officials said Russian forces have been surprised by fierce resistance from Ukrainian fighters who have been able to target Russian convoys and troops.
“We have consistently been sharing intelligence that includes information the Ukrainians can use to inform and develop their military response to Russia’s invasion,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday.
“We have been sharing it real time,” Psaki added.
Eight days after Russia invaded Ukraine, it has yet to take any major city or control the skies over the country. Russian troops have been killed and equipment has been destroyed in the action that Moscow calls a “special operation.”
The top lawmaker on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith, noted that the intelligence being shared was not the real-time targeting data that U.S. troops might have been getting in places like Iraq.
“We’re not doing that because that steps over the line to making us participate in the war,” Smith said on MSNBC.
Washington and NATO allies have been providing Ukraine with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons during the conflict.
The United States does not usually share precise locations of targets to partners unless U.S. forces are with them, to avoid civilian casualties.
In Afghanistan, for example U.S. forces rarely provided information to Afghan forces as they fought Taliban fighters unless American forces were nearby who could validate, and in some cases visually see, a target.
A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there were also limits to how much U.S. intelligence could actually see during the ongoing conflict, given that there were no American spy planes over Ukraine or any troops on the ground.
“Our ability to glean intelligence is not as robust as it once was,” the official said.