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. The Pentagon has denied the allegations.
Ukrainian Internal Affairs Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko made the 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 convinced [the US] to prepare a plan to unblock 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 recent Reuters report stating 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,” referring to the Harpoon and Naval Strike missiles by name.
The report noted some obstacles in sending such weapons to Kiev, however, including the “limited availability of platforms to launch Harpoons from shore,” given that it is largely a sea-based missile. Unnamed US officials said the White House is looking for a solution, including “pulling a launcher off of a US ship.”