Ukraine gets additional aircraft, plane parts to bolster fleet

Ukraine has been given additional fighter aircraft and aircraft parts from other countries to increase its fleet amid Russia’s attack, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said Tuesday.

“I would just say, without getting into what other nations are providing, that they have received additional platforms and parts to be able to increase their fleet size, their aircraft fleet size. I think I’d leave it at that,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters. 

He also said Ukrainian forces have received support “to get some of their fixed wing aircraft more operable again,” and now have available to them more fixed-wing fighter aircraft than they did two weeks ago. 

“That’s not by accident,” Kirby said. “That’s because other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running.” 

The United States has begun to flow into Europe security assistance for Ukraine from the $800 million lethal aid package approved by the Biden administration last week.  

A flight carrying such assistance arrived in Europe yesterday, with seven more expected to arrive on the continent in the next 24 hours, a U.S. defense official told reporters earlier Tuesday.  

The overall package includes 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 300 Switchblade drones, 18 Howitzers, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 10 counter-artillery radars, 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, chemical attack protective equipment, body armor and helmets.  

“None of these shipments sit around very long before being offloaded off of aircraft and onloaded appropriately in ground transportation to get them into Ukraine,” the official added.  

Kirby said Tuesday that every day “there’s somewhere on the neighborhood of eight to 10 flights” laden with Ukrainian military aid landing at European locations. 

“They’re not all U.S. flights and they’re not all coming from America — but eight to 10 flights … that material is getting put on pallets and put on a ground delivery transportation means and getting into Ukraine via a various amount of routes,” Kirby said. 

Of note are the heavier systems being given of late from the U.S. and other NATO nations — including aircraft, Howitzers and tanks — due to Russia’s warnings that such military aid would be seen as interfering in the war. 

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