(Washington) Ukraine has received fighter jets and spare parts to bolster its air force, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday, declining to specify the number or countries that provided the planes.
Posted at 6:34pm
After the deployment of howitzer artillery pieces announced by Joe Biden last week, this announcement, which comes at a time when Russia has just launched a new offensive in the Donbass, testifies to a change in attitude among Westerners, which has been resisting for more than a month committed to supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine in order to avoid an escalation of the conflict.
“Today (the Ukrainians) have more fighter jets available than two weeks ago,” the spokesman said at a press conference.
“Without going into detail about what other countries are supplying, I would say that they have received additional aircraft and spare parts to increase their fleet,” he added.
These are likely Russian-made Mig-29s, which Kyiv has requested since the conflict began and which a handful of Eastern European countries have in hand.
Poland had offered to transfer such planes through an American base in early March, but the United States had opposed it over concerns that Russia might see too much direct NATO involvement in the conflict.
Mr. Kirby did not name the donor countries, but he did indicate that the devices were indeed Russian-made. “Other nations that have experience with these types of planes have been able to help them get more planes into service,” he said.
He said the United States facilitated the shipment of spare parts to Ukrainian territory, but did not send planes there.
The United States and the European Union announced on Tuesday that they would not stop there.
” Urgent need ”
Meeting via audio conference, French leaders Emmanuel Macron, British Boris Johnson, German Olaf Scholz, Romanian Klaus Iohannis, Pole Andrzej Duda, Italian Mario Draghi, Canadian Justin Trudeau and Japanese Fumio Kishida ” a broad consensus on the need to increase pressure on the Kremlin,” the Italian government said.
Boris Johnson “reported to other leaders this month on his visit to Kyiv,” a Downing Street spokesman noted. “He underscored the urgent need for additional military assistance to Ukraine in the face of a major Russian offensive in Donbass and continued attacks elsewhere.”
Specifically, according to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, participants in the appeal “reaffirmed their commitment to continue their military, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.”
And according to CNN and NBC News, less than a week after an earlier announcement of a tranche of the same amount, the United States is set to approve a new $800 million military aid package for Ukraine.
The first shipments of the tranche of American military aid to Ukraine announced on April 13 have already arrived at the country’s borders to be handed over to the Ukrainian army, and the United States will train Ukrainian soldiers in the use of M777 howitzer guns, latest generation of artillery pieces, which the United States wanted to hand over to the Ukrainian army for the first time.
Although their handling is not fundamentally different from the artillery known to the Ukrainian army, these guns use 155mm shells used by NATO countries, while Ukraine does not yet have Russian-made 152mm shells.
Since the beginning of the invasion, arms deliveries to the Ukraine have been made discreetly on a daily basis, since the countries involved do not want to appear as warring parties in this conflict.
According to Czech media, Prague sent trains carrying T-72 tanks and Soviet-made armored vehicles to Ukraine in early April, an unprecedented operation. Official sources refused to confirm this information.
Czech defense contractors will repair Ukrainian heavy military equipment following a recent request from Kyiv authorities, the Czech Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
Initially, subsidiaries of the Czechoslovak Group (CSG) industrial holding company will undertake repairs of Soviet T-64 tanks operated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, but in the future repairs may be extended to armored vehicles of the FRG and other Czech companies, according to a press release by the ministry.