For the first time since the Russian invasion began, the Pentagon on Tuesday issued cryptic confirmation that Ukraine has received fighter planes. In a press briefing spokesman John Kirby was careful to say it wasn't the Untied States who sent them, however.
He also didn't specify what types of aircraft were sent, only that Ukrainian forces "right now have available to them more fixed-wing fighter aircraft than they did two weeks ago." Kirby described, "Without getting into what other nations are providing, they (Ukrainian forces) have received additional platforms and parts to be able to increase their fleet size."
"Other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running," Kirby added. As for the US role, he only specified assistance given in the shipment of some parts, but that the US has "not transported whole aircraft."
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has for weeks been lobbying Western capitals to "close the sky" - or impose a no fly zone - which would effectively guarantee direct Russia-NATO war. While he's recently backed off that rhetoric slightly, he's instead taken the strategy of saying that if his Western backers aren't ready to commit to a NFZ, then they can at least provide aircraft.
As for this fresh Pentagon admission of jets having been recently transferred to Kiev, a few possibilities remain as to which country is behind it. Last month, Poland offered a deal to give Ukraine its almost two dozens MiGs if Washington would replenish its lost supply by upgrading Warsaw with US fighters. Apparently caught off guard by the move, the Pentagon rejected it.
Slovakia is another likely possibility after it sent an S-300 system and missiles to Ukraine, with the US agreeing to resupply the country with Patriots. Slovakia followed by offering to send MiG jets in a similar set-up based on the US sending upgraded American planes to replenish.
A half-senile gerontocrat is all that’s between us and a humanitarian nuclear holocaust. https://t.co/G2r6dREGxo— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) April 18, 2022
Likely it's one of these Eastern European or Baltic NATO countries that supplied the aircraft Kirby referenced Tuesday. The revelation came just as Joe Biden is said to be readying approval of yet another $800 million arms package to Ukraine, which would bring total military aid given since the war began to surpass $3 billion.