A top Ukrainian adviser has claimed that the United States is drawing up plans to sink Russian warships and ‘destroy’ its Black Sea Fleet, following reports that Washington is seeking to provide advanced anti-ship missiles to the Ukrainian military. They were denied by the Pentagon.
Anton Gerashchenko was the Ukrainian Internal Affairs Ministry’s adviser. statement on social media on Thursday, saying that discussions are now underway in relation to how the US could help to break a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports.
“The US is preparing a plan for the destruction of the Black Sea Fleet,”He wrote. “The effective work of the Ukrainians on [Russian]Warships successfully convinced [the US]To prepare a plan for unblocking the ports. Deliveries of powerful anti-ship weapons (Harpoon and Naval Strike Missile with a range of 250-300km) are being discussed.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby denied the Kiev official’s claims, stating during a Friday press briefing “I can tell you definitively that that’s not true.”
Gerashchenko had cited a Reuters recent report which stated that the Biden Administration was “working to put advanced anti-ship missiles in the hands of Ukrainian fighters to help defeat Russia’s naval blockade,”This is the Harpoon or Naval Strike missiles.
Although there were some difficulties in sending weapons to Kiev, such obstacles included the “limited availability of platforms to launch Harpoons from shore,”Given its sea-based nature, it can be used to launch missiles. The White House, according to some unnamed US officials is seeking a solution. “pulling a launcher off of a US ship.”
When asked about anti-ship missiles, Kirby said he would not “get ahead of decisions that haven’t been made.” He pointed out that the US is “talking to the Ukrainians every day,” adding that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Alexey Reznikov on Friday.
“When we have decisions, we come right out here and issue a press release,” Kirby declared.
The reported discussions around anti-ship munitions follow media reports that Washington may have helped Ukrainian forces to sink Russia’s Black Sea flagship – the guided-missile cruiser ‘Moskva’ – off the coast of Odessa last month. US officials deny these claims, Kirby saying that Kiev is in possession of its anti-ship missile munitions. “own intelligence capabilities to track and target Russian naval vessels, as they did in this case,”It was also reported that US intelligence wasn’t used to locate the ship and strike it.
Moscow offered an alternative version, claiming that the “Moskva” sank following a fire that triggered a blast inside a magazine. However, Moscow confirmed that one of the sailors died and that there are 27 other missing from action.
Though US officials have yet to publicly confirm whether anti-ship weapons are slated for Ukraine, American military aid to the country has steadily escalated since Russia’s attack commenced in late February. A new, massive aid package worth $40 billion has brought the total US assistance to Ukraine up to $54 Billion since March. Anti-tank Javelin and anti-aircraft missiles are currently provided. Other equipment includes long-range artillery pieces and armored vehicles. The latest aid bill is also expected to provide for Patriot anti-air missile batteries, despite previous comments from Pentagon officials saying the weapon was off the table.
“There’s no discussion about putting a Patriot battery in Ukraine. In order to do that you have to put US troops with it to operate it,” a senior defense official told media in March. “It is not a system that the Ukrainians are familiar with and as we have made very clear, there will be no US troops fighting in Ukraine.”
It’s unclear what has changed since then, and White House and Defense Department officials have offered few details on whose forces will operate the Patriot batteries or the exact location of their deployment during recent briefings.
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