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Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby Holds a Press Briefing

PRESS SECRETARY JOHN F. KIRBY:  OK let's just get right to it. I think you saw today the President announced and authorize another presidential drawdown of security assistance valued at up to an additional $800 million tailored to meet urgent Ukrainian needs for today's fight, as Russian forces shift the focus of their ruthless aggression now to eastern Ukraine. This authorization is the seventh such drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine since August of 2021. And you can see the list of capabilities there up on the screen, so I won't bother reading them all to you. Some of them are reinforcing capabilities that we have already been providing Ukraine, and some of them are new capabilities that we have not provided to Ukraine. All of them are designed to help Ukraine, as we talked about, help Ukraine in the fight that they are in right now. And the flight that they will be in, in coming days and weeks in the eastern part of the country.

The United States has now committed more than $3.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including approximately $2.6 billion dollars since the beginning -- just since the beginning of their unprovoked invasion on February 24. The United States also continues to work with its allies and partners to identify and provide Ukraine with additional capabilities, capabilities that aren't in our stocks that we aren't as able to get to them directly. And we we'll obviously continue to utilize all the available tools at our disposal to support Ukraine's armed forces in the face of Russian aggression.

So, with that, we'll go to questions. Bob?

Q:  Thanks, John. I'm wondering if you can on the helicopters. Are these the helicopters that you had in -- in -- on stock because they were going to be gone to Afghanistan?

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, so these 11 Mi-17s are -- these had been earmarked for Afghanistan. They are coming out of our stocks, our inventory, we have them, we didn't obviously transfer them to Afghanistan. So, we're now transferring them to Ukraine, I would remind that, as you probably remember, we had already provided Ukraine five Mi-17s not long ago. So, this is not the first time that we've given them Mi-17s.

Q:  OK, and related question. You mentioned the urgency of this and the shift of the Russian focus to the -- to the ease. Are you also putting an urgency on trying to facilitate in some way transfer of pharma from Eastern European NATO member countries? Who would have tanks or other armor that that the Ukrainians would be familiar with? Is that -- is that moving forward? Or?

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, I would, without talking about other sovereign states and what they're providing, I can tell you that -- that there are at least a couple that are providing armored capabilities tanks, largely to T-72 tanks, which the Ukrainians know how to use or trained on. And they are getting some transfers of tanks from other countries in NATO. But I'd leave it to those nations to speak to that more specifically.

Q:  Is there a timetable for the delivery of this?

MR. KIRBY:  As soon as possible. I mean, we, as you've seen us go in the past from the time the president authorizes drawdown until the first shipments actually start landing in the region can be as little as four to five days. And then another couple of days once the -- you know, once they're there to get processed and actually in the hands of Ukrainian frontline forces. So, we are still finishing up the last $800 million that President Biden authorized and we're getting close to the end of that we expect to be complete with that last $800 million by the middle of this month around the 15th. But we're not going to wait, we're going to start getting these articles on the way as well. So, we will literally start right away.

Q:  One last -- sorry. One last quick thing on the howitzers. Is this the first time you've provided artillery?

MR. KIRBY:  It is. It's the first time that we've provided these 155 howitzers and the associated rounds that will go with them. And again, that's reflective of the kind of fighting that the Ukrainians are expecting to be faced with here in this little bit more confined geographic area they specifically asked for fire support and that -- and specifically asked for artillery support. Yeah.


Q:  Is the -- all the atrocities attributed to the Russian military, are they a factor in the decision to send Ukraine more lethal weapons?

MR. KIRBY:  We didn't provide them some lethal weapons in the past, Sylvie. This -- this drawdown here today is a function, very specifically a function, of conversations that we have had with Ukrainian leaders in just the last few days, including the President's conversation today with President Zelensky. I mean, we tailored this list, specifically to meet the needs that they have asked for, with respect to what's going on in eastern Ukraine. That's what's really driving this.


Q:  Yeah, we heard a senior defense officials say earlier today that U.S. troops in Europe may be tapped to help train Ukrainians on weapons systems. And I'm wondering, since we've seen this announcement of this additional security assistance, or whether there's any more clarity on whether troops will actually be doing that training; which troops may be doing the training, and if there are any particular items on that list that servicemembers may able to help with.

MR. KIRBY:  So, we do anticipate that some of these items will require some additional training for Ukrainians. We haven't -- we're still working through what those options are going to look like, what that train is going to look like, how many U.S. troops are going to be involved in it? Where's it going to be? How long? It's going to depend. We're still working our way through that.

But we believe that we can put together appropriate training for some of these systems very, very quickly. These are not highly complex systems. The systems that will probably require some additional training for Ukrainian forces are the howitzers, the TPQ-36 counter artillery radar -- not a very difficult system to operate, but it's not one that they have in their inventory. The -- thank you for that. And go to the -- the MQ -- that MQ-64, yeah. MPQ sorry, the Sentinel air surveillance this is an air defense radar system, a 3-D phased array. And that also is going to require a little bit of training on for that. Go back to the main list if you could.

So, we already talked about switchblade training, that has already occurred, and we know that there will probably be a need for some follow-on switchblade training for again, training more trainers, if you will. They will -- they might need some training on the -- down at the bottom there, the optics and laser rangefinders. But that won't take very long. Those aren't complicated systems, but they might need some of that. And perhaps some basic training on the claymores. But the big-ticket items that will require some training are those radars and the artillery systems.

Again, we're still working our way through what that's gonna look like, where, when, how many. It's more likely than not that what we would do, because they are in an active fight, is a train the trainer's program. So, pull a small number of Ukrainian forces out so that they can get trained on these systems, and then send them back in. It won't be a -- it won't be a cafeteria style, it'll likely be tailored; we'll pull troops out that, for instance, artillerymen to learn the artillery to howitzer, and then go back in and train their colleagues, rather than make them responsible for, you know, training everybody and all these systems. So, we'll do it in a tailored fashion. But again, we're working our way through that right now.

Q:  If I could just follow up; since the beginning of the conflict, there has been concerns about escalation and U.S. involvement. And I'm wondering if this U.S. training, if there any concerns over whether this is going to look like some type of escalation or be interpreted that way by the Russians.

MR. KIRBY:  I can't speak for the Russian side of this. Let's go back to basics. Ukraine was invaded in an unprovoked way by Russia. They have suffered a lot of casualties, damage to so many cities. Millions of Ukrainians have now become refugees inside and outside their country. This was a war they didn't deserve. It's a war that they certainly didn't ask for. There was no reason for Russia to invade Ukraine at all, particularly when Mr. Putin had diplomatic options on the table.

We committed from the very beginning, even before the invasion, to helping Ukraine be able to defend itself. This is a piece of that, and this is representative of the kinds of capabilities that the Ukrainians themselves have asked for and said they need as this fighting now gets focused on the eastern part of the country. How that gets interpreted by the Russians, you can ask Mr. Putin and the Kremlin. What we're concerned about is making sure that we are doing what we said we were going to do, which is have an iterative conversation with the Ukrainians and try to do the best we can to meet their self-defense needs.

And again, I want to stress this is coming from U.S. stocks from what we've got. Other nations are doing the same thing they're having conversations with Ukrainian leaders, and they're trying to fill their needs as best they can too, because they have some systems that the Ukrainians are simply more comfortable with than -- than we do.


Q:  Thank you. Frequent (ones ?) if I may. First of all, you say on that list that there's chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear protective equipment. Can you elaborate on...

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, this is individual equipment, protective suits and individual detection devices.

Q:  OK, thank you.

And then the (inaudible) leaders, either are meeting or have met today with defense contractors about Ukraine. Can you get us any more details about the meeting, who attended or is attending? What's been discussed?

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, this was as I said earlier, I mean, this -- this meeting was a piece of a larger, longer effort that we have put in place now over the last many months to have a recurring dialogue with CEOs of major defense contractors. A few weeks ago, a couple of months ago, we talked about one that was focused on hypersonics, for instance. This one was really focused on the kinds of systems and weapons that have been relevant in the Ukraine war. And we wanted to make sure that we had a good, honest, candid discussion with these CEOs about the systems that they're producing, about the rate at which they're being produced, about the possibility for accelerating some of those production lines and expanding them based on the heavy draw on our inventory to support Ukraine.

Now, I want to stress that we have not reached a level of inventory of any of these systems that are impacting our readiness abilities. But we don't want to get to that point before we start to have a conversation with industry about replenishment and -- and the production line going forward. And so, that's what this was all about. It was -- it was part of a normal scheduled routine conversation that we have with defense industry leaders, but obviously focused much more specifically on what's going on in Ukraine. So, Boeing was represented, L3Harris was represented, Raytheon, Bae-E -- BAE, sorry. BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman were all represented today. OK? And it was a -- it was a good discussion.

We were very grateful. I want to say that -- say that right at the top, very grateful for their willingness to come on in and have this discussion. The -- Deputy Secretary Hicks kicked it off, she led it. And, again, I would fully expect that there'll be additional such roundtable discussions going forward with the CEOs and perhaps others as time goes on.

Q:  OK, thank you. And then one more, if I may. Can you confirm the reporting that's out there that the Biden administration is moving to significantly expand intel sharing with Ukrainian forces that could potentially help them take back...

MR. KIRBY:  I've talked about this before, Carla. We -- as the fight has changed as the -- the geographic concentration has changed for Russia, and they're focusing more on the Donbas…you heard the Secretary talked about this in testimony that we felt it was important that we needed to update the guidance on intelligence sharing with the Ukrainians, based on developments on the ground, and -- and we're doing that. Yeah.


Q:  (OFF-MIKE) about the helicopters how are they actually getting into Ukraine? Is it Ukrainian pilots basically go pick them up and fly them in there, or...

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, we're still -- I mean, there will be -- they'll be shipped over into the region. And then I don't know whether there'll be trucked in or -- I don't have the specific, you know, data on exactly how each helicopter is going to get inside Ukraine.

Q:  But it wouldn't be U.S. pilots at all?

MR. KIRBY:  No. There wouldn’t be U.S. pilots flying the helicopters in Ukraine. No.

Q:  OK.  Also on the nuclear protective equipment, following up the question. Was that in response to anything specific that we've seen that Russia would consider to do in Ukraine when it comes to...

MR. KIRBY:  It's -- we believe -- actually, the Ukrainians believe it's -- it's the prudent thing to do. We have -- we've talked about this we have talked about indications we've had in the past, weeks ago, that the Russians might resort to the use of chemical or biological weapons. And so, based on talking with the Ukrainians about protective gear, and again, keeping in mind that we're looking at operations in a much more confined space now, the Ukrainians asked for this, and we have it so we're going to provide it. Is it based on a specific credible threat of a use in a -- in a neighborhood or a particular area? No. But it's certainly based on long standing concerns we've had about the potential for the Russians to use these kinds of weapons.

And again, everything on this list was a result of a conversation with the Ukrainians themselves about what they needed. I can't stress that enough. We're not foisting stuff upon them because, you know, we just think it's a good idea that this is all stuff that we've talked about with the Ukrainians.


Q:  The howitzers...

MR. KIRBY:  Who are you?

Q:  I'm Mike Stone. I'm from Reuters.


Q:  The howitzers, are those M777s from the Marines? And how did the number 18 get arrived at? Should we look at additional tranches?

MR. KIRBY:  I mean, I don't have anything to speak to with additional tranches. I mean, this one's just now getting announced. I'm not going to rule out the possibility of additional howitzers. I don't have the exact variant available for you but they're artillery pieces, as you know, very capable ones. And again, the Ukrainians have made it clear that in this fight that's coming artillery is a critical need, not just the artillery piece itself, but the rounds that go with it. And you can see there's 40,000 rounds that are going on with this. And we will be in an iterative conversation with them going forward and if they need additional artillery rounds, clearly the United States will do what we can to fill those needs.

Yeah, in the back?

Q:  Joe Gould from...

MR. KIRBY:  Hey, Joe. Yeah?

Q:  Hey. Also on the artillery, you know, we've seen Russian forces using standoff range missiles and artillery against the Ukrainians. Is this a bid to help even the odds by providing Ukraine with a -- with a similar capability?

MR. KIRBY:  It's very much an effort to give the Ukrainians every possible advantage in this fight that's coming.

Q:  And then second, something interesting on that list, there's an unmanned coastal defense vessel. Can you provide us with a little bit more detail about what that is and...

MR. KIRBY:  This is -- yeah, this is a -- it's an unmanned surface vessel that -- that can be used for a variety of purposes in coastal defense. I think I'll just leave it at that.

Q:  (OFF-MIKE). It's a draw -- draw down from...

MR. KIRBY:  It's coming from Navy stocks, yeah. But it can be used for a variety of coastal defense missions.


Q:  You've mentioned several times the fight that's coming; can you help people better understand, when you look at that list, when you look at this specific threat of the type of combat in the Donbas, what is that combat going to be that leads you to this list? How does this list address your assessment of what the combat will be in the Donbas?

MR. KIRBY:  Well, the first effector is the Ukrainians themselves who have -- who have asked for these kinds of capabilities based on what they believe they're facing. They will be facing Russian forces that are familiar with the territory and that part of Ukraine they've been fighting over for eight years. Will likely be replenished and restock themselves now that they have left the northern part of the country and they are now in Belarus and/or Russia, refitting resupplying. So, a potentially reinforced Russian force there. So, you're looking at even more Russian troops applied to the Donbas region than they have right now. And they will be resupplied. You're looking at short supply route lines for the Russians because the Donbas region borders right up alongside Russia. So, part of the problems that they had, you know, in the north was -- was long and unsustainable lines of communication, that won't be the same problem for them.

The other aspect of this is the topography. And it's been described to me, that part of Ukraine is a bit like Kansas, so it's a little bit flatter, it's a little bit more open. And it's the kind of place where we can anticipate that the Russians will want to use tanks and long-range fires, artillery, and rocket fire to achieve some of their objectives before committing ground troops. And so, these capabilities again, all done in concert with -- with what the Ukrainians say they need for that particular kind of fighting.

Q:  And can I follow up on a couple other quick things? I don't think we (inaudible) in several days. Is the Secretary and the chairman, have they again, or still tried to reach their counterparts? And has there been any success on that? And is that communications phone line still being even answered by the Russians?

MR. KIRBY:  As far as I know, the deconfliction line is still operational. We do check it every day. I haven't heard any reports to the contrary, that there have been no checks, and there haven't been any problems with it. I also haven't heard any indications that we've had to use it to transmit any content, if you will. I have no conversations with Minister Shoigu to read out today. I don't know when the last attempt was, but it wasn't long ago, I think less than a week or so ago. And again, there was no interest by the Russians. I can't speak for Chairman Milley and I don't -- I don't think he's had any conversations, but I'd refer you to the joint staff on it.

Q:  And very quickly, can you tell us your latest assessment of Russian military morale both the troops on the ground and the officers? What are -- what is your assessment of their morale as they go into this latest round?

MR. KIRBY:  Well, look, Barb, I want to be, you know, mindful of the fact that we aren't on the ground with Russian forces, we don't have perfect knowledge of -- of unit cohesion at a tactical level inside the Russian Armed Forces. So, speaking about something as broad as morale can be a difficult thing to do when -- when you're -- when it's not your army you're talking about. I would just say, anecdotally, we continue to see indications that there are unit cohesion problems, that many units are suffering from low morale and disenchantment by some of their younger enlisted troops, and that -- that they -- that their leaders are also frustrated not only with some of their troops and their troops performance, but even with their colleagues performance.


Q:  On the training (OFF-MIKE), did some of that take place in Poland, Romania, or other countries, and can you do it with the troops who are already on the ground or are there considerations to send more troops over to Europe?

MR. KIRBY:  As for locations, we haven't made that decision yet. It most likely is going to be multiple locations. I don't see this happening at just one place. And I think our goal would be to achieve this with -- with troops, our troops that are already there.

Yeah? Tony?

Q:  A couple of weapons questions. Are the artillery -- are those all towed or are any going to be self propelled?

MR. KIRBY:  They're towed.

Q:  They're all towed? OK. The President in his message today alluded to the -- the transfer of additional helicopters. What were the prior helicopters? I might have missed that...

MR. KIRBY:  We talked about this at the very first question in the briefing.

Q:  I understand that. But he applied -- there were additional help helicopters before this.

MR. KIRBY:  Those are the additional helicopters.

Q:  What were the ones -- OK, so this...

MR. KIRBY:  There were five MI-17s transferred to Ukraine earlier this year. And now another 11.

Q:  Perfect. And 40,000 rounds, can you double check to see if any of those are those GPS guided Excalibur rounds? Those are very precision weapons that the Army uses.

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, look; I'm not -- I'll take the question but I don't know that I'm going to have a specific answer for you. 40,000 rounds to go with these -- with these 18 howitzers and if we need to send more, we'll send more. Yeah, anybody else in the room? OK, Jeff Schoegel?

Q:  Sorry about that. I'm sorry if this has already been asked, but we had seen some reports yesterday that the MI-17s would not be included in this package, and now they are. Can you explain the -- where things stand?

MR. KIRBY:  I cannot explain reporting based on leaked documents. All I can do is talk to you about what the President authorized today the President authorized 11 MI-17s today.

Let's see, Tara Copp?

Q:  Thank you. I wanted to get back to the -- the helicopters. Sending aircrafts to Afghanistan by this administration had previously kind of been seen as a stopping point, it seems for its escalatory potential. But you mentioned that there were five that were sent previously; were they sent before Russia instigated this -- this invasion? And then if you could talk a little bit more about it seems like now because of Russia's brutality in Ukraine, there's less of a concern about what Russia might find is escalatory anymore.

MR. KIRBY:  Tara, I'm sorry, I'm just gonna have to challenge the premise of the question. It's not about -- it's not that we aren't still concerned about escalation management, that's the responsible thing to do in every decision we're making and I've said this before, every decision we're making, is we balance the needs of Ukraine to defend itself with our responsibilities, our absolute responsibilities to think about escalation management. And if we weren't, you should challenge us on that. But these decisions are all done prudently. I don't know the exact date the previous five helicopters were transferred. I'll see if we can find that. But these are all items that the Ukrainians have said that they could use and need, and that we can get them readily. And so, we're focused on doing that.

Mike Brest?

Q:  Yeah, it's been answered. Thanks.

MR. KIRBY:  Heather, from USNI?

Q:  Hi. Thank you so much. A couple questions; first, I was wondering if you have any comments on the reports that Russian troops are taking merchants from their ships? And we'll say that the Ukrainians are the ones removing them. And then I wondered if you had any comments on the fact that India and the United States talked about using Indian shipyards to help repair American ships today?

MR. KIRBY:  Sorry, Heather, I don't have anything on your first question. And I'll take your second question and see if I can get back to you.

Jared from my Al Monitor?

Q:  Hi, Mr. Kirby. The Fifth Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper said earlier today that the -- I'm sorry to detract from the -- the main focus here. The -- the combined maritime force would stand up a new joint task force in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Will this unit be tasked with interdicting arms shipments from the Iran's IRGC to Yemen's Houthis? And then I have a follow up.

MR. KIRBY:  I’ll leave it to the Fifth Fleet and to the Navy to speak to that one, Jared.

Q:  Thanks. And I'm just wondering if you can confirm the Guardian reported earlier this week that Iran backed militias in Iraq have helped smuggle RPGs and other arms to Russia via Iran, including possibly the Iranians authorizing the sending of an Iranian made air defense system. Do you have any comment or any confirmation on that? Thanks.

MR. KIRBY:  ... on that either, Jared I'll have to see if we have anything on that. I mean, obviously, we've seen Iran support for proxy groups and terrorist groups throughout the region, but I can't -- I can't give you anything on that.

Luis, did you have one?

Q:  Yeah, a couple of questions. We've talked about this phone conversation from last week with Jake Sullivan, the Zelensky team, and General Milley. How much of this was partly requested by the Ukrainians, like full on by the Ukrainians, or was there more that they wanted that they didn't get in this that maybe you redirected to other countries, for example, like U.K., which has provided coastal -- coastal defense systems -- missile systems as opposed to something that's not (OFF-MIKE)?

MR. KIRBY:  Yeah, I don't have a readout of that call. I refer to the NSC to speak to that. I can tell you that Secretary Austin speaks very frequently with Mr. Reznikoff. You saw that the President spoke with President Zelensky, again, just today. This list is -- comes right out of those conversations. As I said earlier, the Ukrainians have asked for other systems and capabilities that we simply don't have, and that we are working with allies and partners to help -- to help them get those kinds of systems into Ukraine. But those nation states have to speak for themselves. I'll let the Ukrainians speak for whatever specifics they had on their shopping list, I'm not going to do that for them. And I'm certainly not going to talk for other countries that are also providing systems that they have and that are available to them.

What I can tell you, again, two things. One, this list came directly out of a conversation, multiple conversations with Ukrainians in the last few days as we began to see the Russians now start to reprioritize the Donbas fight. And -- and -- and two, we're going to have those conversations going forward, we'll iterate this and there may be additional drawdown that's authorized, there may be additional shipments of other kinds of systems. And then I guess number three, the Secretary has been tireless in personally working with allies and partners to help them also flesh out some of those needs for -- for capabilities we don't have, for instance, the S-300, that the Slovakian government announced that they were going to send. I mean, that -- that was a result of, obviously a lot of great work in Slovakia, but also the Secretary's personal diplomatic efforts to work that -- work that closely.

Q:  We've also heard from officials about the significant ramp up and how quickly the previous materials have been getting to -- into the Ukrainians, and the great logistical effort that's been undertaken to make the habit. Some of these, this is a much heavier lift, literally. Because some of these, I mean, when you move it into an entire division, let's say is worth of our personnel carriers usually have to do that via ship, which can take a longer time than airlift. I mean, are we going to see that similar up tempo that you've seen for these smaller weapons systems for something like this?

MR. KIRBY:  The short answer is yes, Luis. I mean, look, I can't tell you as we talk at 3:15, here, on Wednesday afternoon, exactly when the first plane with the first items on this list are going to lift off and where that's going to come from. Not all of them may -- not all of it has to necessarily come from the United States. But I will tell you that the Secretary is committed to moving this material as quickly as possible. And again, let's go back to the other -- the first $800 million, not the first, but the last time that the President authorized an amount of this that $800 million that, I mean, that's closing out here in just a few days. It's incredible. And I can tell you that the Secretary has made it clear to the department that he wants that same sense of urgency to apply to this as well. So, I can't -- I can't give you a system right now. Sorry, detail right now about the shipment schedule. But as we can, I certainly will. All right?


Q:  A senior defense official recently said that Russia still has between 80 to 85 percent of its combat power available to them. I was just wondering if you had a update to that number.

MR. KIRBY:  I gotta be careful here at the podium detailing issues of intelligence like that on -- on Russian combat power. I will tell you this, though, they still have a significant amount of combat power and combat capabilities available to them. As we talked about earlier, they are -- they have moved forces out of the north, they're going to refit, we supply those forces. And we believe, in fact, we've already seen that they're pushing some of those forces back into Ukraine, just to the north of the Donbas. And we would expect that reinforcement to continue. But again, enumerating that would -- would probably not be something I'd want to do from the podium.


Q:  (OFF-MIKE) can you get a fact sheet for us on this unmanned combat vessel? There's none in the Navy inventory. They're all experimental. How do we know the damn thing even works? But I'm not asking you now for details, but...

MR. KIRBY:  I'm not gonna -- I'm not gonna promise you a fact sheet. I can promise you the damn thing works.

Q:  You can, huh?

MR. KIRBY:  Yes, I can.

Q:  I hope so.

MR. KIRBY:  I can.

Q:  Well, you should get a fact sheet on it because it's a new weapon.

MR. KIRBY:  I appreciate your interest in national security.  I can assure you it works.


Q:  (OFF-MIKE) asked from Ukrainian government. But, you know, to Louis' question, there are other things they would like to have that the U.S. does have in its inventory, other kinds of (inaudible) fires or whatever. And so, is this -- is it more accurate...

MR. KIRBY:  They haven't -- they haven't asked for -- I mean, can be jet fighters that were in our inventory.

Q:  I think that they would like more jet fighters that aren't -- that are in the U.S. inventory or at least hinted at that that and other weaponry. And I'm just wondering is this more like the agreed upon list between the U.S. and Ukraine, not just what they want? Because it's seems like a wish list...

MR. KIRBY:  Oh, clearly, it's curated. I mean, but it very much reflects what they -- what they need. And it's -- it's a -- it's a growth, outgrowth of actual no kidding discussions that we've had with Ukraine being very candid about what we have and what we can make available to them and what they need. So, certainly, there's an -- an element of curation here, you would think that that would be the appropriate thing to do. And they have other capabilities, again, that -- that we simply can't help them with, but other nations can, and the Secretary is personally working on that.


Q:  Is now all of these weapons available right now? Or do you have to wait for the manufacturers to produce them?

MR. KIRBY:  These are all available in our stocks right now. Yeah.


Q:  (OFF-MIKE). So, you've -- you've -- you've laid this all out, and you continue to lay it all out as for the fight in Donbas, right. I mean, if I'm understanding you correctly. How is it not too late? This is gonna take a while to get there. Both the U.S. and Ukraine have known to fight for (inaudible) in the Donbas is coming. How will -- how will this not be too late?

MR. KIRBY:  We are going to move this as fast as we can, Barb, and I would remind you that -- that it's not like the other material that we've been sending isn't also being used or hasn't been useful in the Donbas, it has been. But in recognition of what the Russians are preparing to do, they're not doing it now, they're not fully up to readiness for this renewed push they want to put in the Donbas. We recognize that and we're taking advantage of every day, every hour to get this stuff there as fast as we can.

Q:  What is your assessment because the administration has been very public. The Russians are resupplying retrofitting and moving everything towards the Donbas. That's -- so, what's your assessment on how much time you have?

MR. KIRBY:  I'm not going to detail that kind of stuff here at the podium. But we have a good sense of Russian efforts to resupply and refit and to reinforce. As I just told most, we already have seen that in some cases they are reinforcing now. Look, Barb, I get the -- and I appreciate the -- the seriousness of the question. We're aware of the clock. And we know time is not our friend. And that's why even before this was announced today, that we had been moving at a very, very fast speed, all the other security assistance that we've been providing, at, frankly, at an unprecedented rate. And the Secretary has every expectation and has conveyed that expectation to the department that this material will move with the same sense of alacrity and speed.


MR. KIRBY:  We are -- I would also remind we're in constant conversations with the Ukrainians. Everything we've been sending is based on conversations with them. And I don't think it's helpful for anybody now, on the 13th of April, to be able to predict perfectly what -- what happens next week. All we can do is -- is do what we're doing in the moment, talking to the Ukrainians, seeing what they need, and moving things as fast as we can.

I got time for one more. I think you had your hand up.

Q:  I did. Yes, you answered my question about the metrics for delivering this aid. But when these conversations are held are there discussions about what can be deemed as something that Russia might retaliate against, in terms of is this maybe too much to send to Ukraine? I mean, what are the conversations going on in the Pentagon about a potential retaliation from Putin against us?

MR. KIRBY:  I mean, look, we're always -- we never lose our focus on force protection or being able to defend ourselves or our allies. I mean, that's why we flew in -- flown in another 20,000 American troops onto the European continent in just the last, what, six, eight weeks. The risks of escalation beyond Ukraine and -- and in a more deadly way, is something we're constantly looking at and constantly talking about, as I answered to, I think it was Sylvie. I mean, escalation management is a big part of leadership here at the Pentagon, not just with respect to Ukraine, but all around the world. That's what we get paid to do. So, we're certainly factoring in those concerns as we work with Ukrainians, but the main focus is helping Ukraine defend itself and getting them the kinds of systems that they need most.

OK, Tony, another one? Go ahead.

Q:  The line on the Claymore mines, it's got consistent with the Ottawa blank? Ottawa senators, Ottawa treaty? What is it?

MR. KIRBY:  Thank you for noting the type of the Ottawa -- the Ottawa mine treaty.

Q:  And what is it in layman's language? Layout?

MR. KIRBY:  It's for signatory nations they agree to not purchase or transfer or accumulate antipersonnel mines.

Q:  They can't transfer these? They have to use them or destroy them?

MR. KIRBY:  Claymore mines if you look at the treaty Claymore mines are exempted from the treaty.

Yeah. OK, thanks everybody. Appreciate it.