Pentagon retracts claim on Ukraine's MiG29 jets

Pentagon retracts claim on Ukraine's MiG29 jets

The US Defense DepartmentDefense Department retracted its claim on Wednesday that Ukraine had been supplied with more aircraft, but said only parts had been delivered to Kyiv to put more jets into the fight against Russia.

After weeks of speculation that a neighboring country might give Russian MiG 29 s to add to the Ukrainian air force's capabilities against Russian invaders, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby retracted his statement on Tuesday, saying that Ukraine had received fighter jets from an unnamed ally.

Kirby told reporters that while fixed-wing aircraft have been offered by an unidentified country to bolster Kyiv's defenses, they have not received whole aircraft from another nation.

I was wrong. Kirby said on Tuesday that they have not received whole aircraft from another nation.

Ukrainians have been able to put in operation more fixed-wing aircraft in their fleet than they had two to three weeks ago because of the United States coordination and provision of spare parts and additional equipment, he said.

A senior US defense official said that the parts supply has enabled Ukraine to add 20 previously inoperable jets to its active fighter fleet.

Ukraine has asked for more aircraft, especially MiG fighters, which its pilots are trained to operate, since the war began on February 24.

Three NATO countries -- Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia -- have those jets in their fleets.

Weeks ago, Poland said it was willing to give its MiG 29 s to Ukraine if Washington would provide it with new F-16 jets.

The NATO alliance has been cautious, worried that it would be seen as playing a direct role in the fight against Moscow's forces and risking expanding the conflict beyond Ukraine's borders.

On Wednesday, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz B? Aszczak talked about Ukraine's support.

There was no information about how their talks addressed the aircraft or other arms issues.

Secretary Austin praised Poland on the important role it continues to play to help the Ukrainian people resist Russia's invasion and seek refuge from violence, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The two leaders discussed Poland's robust defense modernization plans, and agreed to work together to help the Polish military become one of the most capable in Europe. The senior defence official said 14 US howitzers that Washington said would be provided to Ukraine were now being delivered to the region, along with ammunition for them.

The official said around 50 Ukrainians are being trained outside Ukraine to operate them.

The official said that they would get trained on how to use the howitzers and then they'll be able to go back in to Ukraine and train their colleagues.