Ukraine secures entry to twenty extra warplanes after spare components switch

A switch of spare components facilitated by the US and allied nations has given Ukraine entry to an additional 20 warplanes, a senior Pentagon official stated, offering Kyiv’s air forces with much-needed firepower as they attempt to fend off a renewed Russian onslaught.

“[Ukraine has increased its fleet] by more than 20 . . . because of the work the United States and the international community has done to help get them the parts they need to get them in the air,” the senior US defence official stated on Wednesday, including that the nation was in a stronger place than three weeks in the past.

The switch of spare plane components to permit Ukraine to restore and refurbish its jets is the newest occasion of a rising openness by the US and its allies to sending heavier weaponry to Ukraine. It comes as Russia begins a renewed assault within the east and south of the nation, having failed to overcome Kyiv.

Last week President Joe Biden introduced a further $800mn in deadly support to Ukraine, together with increasing US help to incorporate heavy artillery. The US is predicted to announce a further $800mn in support this week.

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president, stated on Wednesday that western nations had been extra prepared to ship heavier deadly weapons in current days. “It has become warmer, in terms of weapons. We have warmer relations, the west has a warmer attitude to Ukraine. It has become clearer when we can get that military equipment.”

He added: “I’m not ready to say how many planes are coming. I am of course not ready to mention the details of what we are getting.”

Meanwhile, John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, stated he had misspoken on Tuesday when he stated that Ukraine had obtained “whole aircraft” from one other nation.

“I had been given to understand that an offer made by another nation in the region to provide whole fixed-wing aircraft to Ukraine . . . had actually been effected. It has not,” he stated.

Kirby added: “That said, the Ukrainians have received . . . enough spare parts and additional equipment such that they have been able to put in operation more fixed-wing aircraft in their fleet than they had even two to three weeks ago.

“They have been able to increase their fleet by quite a number.”

There have been on-and-off conversations about transferring complete MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, US and European officers stated, however doing so presents logistical challenges. Some western defence officers additionally worry that offering complete planes may escalate the battle, though others have turn into much less involved about such an end result because the conflict has floor on.

“It’s very complicated to give jets,” a European official stated. “We always have to find the right balance between what [Ukraine is] asking for, and also, what will be easy to provide in a very short timeframe and also to weigh correctly what could be too escalatory for Russia.”

The US has additionally expanded its involvement within the battle by starting to coach a small group of about 50 Ukrainian forces outdoors of the nation on find out how to use howitzer artillery methods, the senior US official stated. The official declined to specify the place the coaching was happening.

“This is train the trainers,” the official stated. “They will get trained on how to use the howitzers and then they’ll be able to go back into Ukraine and train their colleagues.”

Additional reporting by Henry Foy in Brussels

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