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CIA satellite tipping Ukraine special forces off about Russian targets: Report

File photo of Ukrainian forces

A report says a satellite belonging to the United States' Central Intelligence Agency tips off Ukraine's special forces about potential targets belonging to Russia, which is conducting a special military operation in the ex-Soviet republic.

The Times carried the report on Thursday, citing members of Ukraine's "Thor" special operations forces, including the group's commander.

According to the commander, the group uses a special application that is linked up directly with the satellite to find out about the targets.

"We select targets in the program, and targets can be placed there both by the CIA satellite and by our own satellite, which our volunteers pay for. Information is collected from all kinds of sources there. We choose, then we arrive and conduct our own reconnaissance," the commander told the paper.

The intelligence and coordinates provided by the orbiter is then used to inform drone attacks on Russian servicemen, the report added.

Russia started the military campaign in neighboring Ukraine last February to defend the pro-Russian population in eastern Ukrainian against persecution by Kiev.

Ever since the beginning of the war, Western countries, led by the United States, have been pumping Ukraine full of tens of billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons and feeding it with vital intelligence, steps that Moscow denounces as the West's "direct" involvement in the conflict and says would only prolong the hostilities.

'Shoot to maim'

In a separate revelation, another member of the Ukrainian special forces' group, identified as Aleksander, told The Times that the Ukrainian troops deploy the drones towards maiming Russia's forces rather than killing them.

"Take an arm or a leg, he will be a burden on the state forever," he said.

The Thor group consists of 27 forces from across Ukraine. It works independently from the Ukrainian army, selecting its own missions and the circumstances of their implementation.

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