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Transcript

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby Holds a Press Briefing

April 14, 2022

PRESS SECRETARY JOHN F. KIRBY:  Hello everybody.  OK.  A couple things at the, at the top.  You all of -- we talked about the $800 million security assistance package that the President authorized yesterday, we are hard at work at filling that package out.  And while, I don't have any shipments to speak to today, I can assure you that we're moving as aggressively as we can to source all those items, and get our hands on that material, and get it on its way just as quickly as possible. 

The previous $800 million package that the secretary, I'm sorry, that the president authorized is really only a few days away from closing out.  So, we're just going to keep moving, keep going forward.  And in keeping with our consultation with allies and partners about capabilities that they have, that they could also provide to Ukraine, the secretary spoke separately, today with case counterparts from Slovakia and from Croatia. 

Again, as part of ongoing consultation with allies and partners.  And we'll have fuller readouts of those conversations later this afternoon.  But again, it's of a piece of the secretary's personal involvement in trying to help consult with allies and partners about getting additional security assistance items, and I'm not going to get ahead of the readout just yet. 

Separately, I would like to note, off the top of Ukraine that on Tuesday, the Defense POW MIA Accounting Agency announced that U.S.  Army Air Forces Lieutenant Colonel Addison E. Baker, who was 36 when he was killed during World War Two.  Posthumously – posthumously, excuse me, awarded the Medal of Honor was finally accounted for on the eighth of April this year. 

Lieutenant Colonel Baker was piloting a B-24 Liberator Bomber during Operation Tidal Wave, near Ploiesti, Romania.  His plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed, but not before he was able to drop his bombs on the target.  Baker is the 17th airman identified as part of the Ploiesti project, which began in 2017 at the Defense POW MIA Accounting Agencies Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out with Lieutenant Colonel Baker's family.  But we're certainly proud and honored to be able to identify his remains and recognize his incredible service to the country during World War Two. 

OK.  Bob, I think you're on the phone, you’re first.

Q:  Yes, thank you.  I am on the phone today.  I hope you can hear me.  Could you on Ukraine, could you give your current assessment of the Russian shipments as to whether it's your working assumption that it was struck by a missile? 

Is it still moving under its own power?  And lastly, could you offer your assessment of what the significance of this loss is for the broader Russian campaign?  Thank you. 

MR. KIRBY:  So, I'll just tell you what we know.  And that's to be very honest with you that we don't know everything.  We cannot confirm the Ukrainian reports that it was hit by a missile, but we are also not in a position to refute that.  That it could have been a Ukrainian missile, which struck the ship.  We just don't have perfect visibility on exactly what happened. 

We do believe that there was a significant explosion on this cruiser, the Moskva of a Slava class of cruisers in the Russian Navy.  We do believe that that explosion caused a significant fire, which as of this morning was still raging aboard the ship.  We do assess that at least some of the crew members evacuated the ship and were placed aboard other Russian navy ships. 

I can't tell you if it's the whole crew.  We just have a sense of -- we have assessment that some crews were evacuated from the ship.  And we are this morning, we had assessed that the ship was underway under its own power.  We are no longer able to make that certainty, today, this afternoon.  We're not exactly sure that the ship is actually still able to make its own way. 

So that's the update, that's the best that we can provide you in terms of what we know and feel comfortable speaking to.  As for the impact on the Russian Navy, that's a little difficult to know with great certitude that they have and have had anywhere from a dozen to two dozen ships operating in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov since the beginning of this invasion. 

They are -- they have ports, as you know, on the Black Sea.  So, they historically have operated there, it's, it would be difficult to be able to tell you that this one ship being out of commission, what exactly the impact is going to have.  And the reason I say that is because their naval component here to the war has been fairly limited to two things. 

One, cruise missile strikes inside Ukraine, and two, replenishment and resupply of their efforts in the South.  They've only conducted one amphibious landing, and that was on an uncontested stretch of beach near Berdyansk in the Sea of Azov.  And they hadn't really made any concerted naval efforts towards Odesa.  So, I guess it remains to be seen exactly what the major impact is going to be. 

Again, that said, this is a cruiser, they only have three in this class.  It's a ship that is roughly 600 feet long.  And as a crew of almost 400 -- I'm sorry more than 400, almost 500 sailors on board.  And it's basically designed for air defense.  That's what this ship is designed to do not unlike our own cruisers.  So, it's going to have an impact on their capabilities, certainly in the near term.  Whether it has an impact on their naval capabilities in the long term, it's just unclear right now. 

And we don't have as much as I know we'd like to have, and you'd like us to have.  We just don't have a better clearer sense of the damage done.  And what impact is going to have for the ship -- to the ship's future here in the near term.  Whether she can and will be repaired and put back into service or not, we just don't know.  David.

Q:  So earlier today, defense officials said that other ships in the Black Sea had since this explosion moved further away from the coast for whatever reason.  Does that change -- the fact that these other ships have moved further away from the coast.  Does that change their ability to launch cruise missiles against targets inside Ukraine?  Or are they still in range?

MR. KIRBY:  I wouldn't take away from this that that's going to have a dramatic impact on their ability to launch surface cruise missiles into Ukraine.  I mean, they have a long range, as you know, David, and the fact that several of them may have moved away from the northern Black Sea away from Odesa.

And the coast doesn't mean that they are completely incapable of maneuvering to other parts of the Black Sea and launching cruise missiles.  So, I don't think we'd be willing to go that far just yet.  Yes, Tony.

Q:  You know, we hear about the airspace still being contested.  Is the Sea of Azov, northern Black Sea, is that considered contested?  Is that Russia has -- what sort of definition of that?

MR. KIRBY:  You mean the maritime environment? 

Q:  In the maritime environment. 

MR. KIRBY:  I think you will be going too far if you said, or if we were to say that the northern areas of the Black Sea were not contested, that the Russians had freedom of maneuver completely inside the Black Sea.  I think that would be going too far for a couple of reasons.  One, the Ukrainian navy, though small, still has operating craft. 

Two, they do have coastal defense capabilities, you saw the Brits had given them some coastal defense missile capabilities.  We in this latest package are offering them some coastal defense, unmanned surface capability.  And three, the issue of mines.  We know that mines have been a factor, particularly south of Odesa. 

And that some of those mines could be free floating, and therefore not moored to a specific area.  And therefore, could affect a Navy's ability to freely maneuver in that maritime space.  So, while they certainly from -- just a purely naval perspective, the Russians have superiority in the Black Sea to the Ukrainians.  More ships, more firepower, certainly more naval capability, we would not assess that they have achieved, you know, complete freedom of movement. 

So, again, they have used the maritime environment to strike inland.  They have used the maritime environment to assault the mainland in terms of an amphibious assault.  And they have used the maritime environment to intimidate.  And in some cases to try to, we think, in some cases try to pin down Ukrainian ground forces near Odesa. 

So, they still have quite a bit of naval capability available to them.

Q:  And just a quick follow up.  When the embassy in Kyiv was moved to Lviv and then into Poland, the Marines obviously moved out as well. 

MR. KIRBY:  Correct. 

Q:  Are they still with the contingent of U.S. diplomats in Poland?  Or have they dispersed?  I guess what I'm getting at is the French have opened up their embassy or have said they're going to open up their embassy in Kyiv. 

MR. KIRBY:  Yes.

Q:  So, if the U.S. were going to make that decision are the Marines with the contingent unable to move out pretty quickly back into Kyiv or how does it work?

MR. KIRBY:  You know, I can't say definitively how many of the Marine security detachment is with the now-displaced embassy personnel.  I suspect that there is still some physical security being provided them even though they're in Poland.  And I don't want to get ahead and State Department's decision about their embassy in Kyiv. 

And if, and, or when, and how they might think about reacting -- that's really something for the State Department to speak to.  I would just tell you that without getting into the hypotheticals here, the Marines are very proud of their security responsibilities with respect to embassies and posts all around the world and support to our diplomats. 

And that would be an active part of any consideration of bringing an embassy back up to speed would be force protection and security for our diplomats.  And clearly the Department of Defense would be a part of that discussion.  But there's been no decisions made.  Tara.

Q:  Thanks John.  Of the few cruise missiles that have been launched by the Russian navy into Ukraine.  Can you tell us did these originate from the Moskva?  Or did some of them originate from Moskva?  And then a couple others?

MR. KIRBY:  I couldn't tell you for sure.  I mean, this is a cruiser by definition.  I mean, they could do a lot of things, but they're basically an air defense platform.  So typically, they're designed for air defense purposes.  But I'm not suggesting that she wouldn't have offensive capabilities. 

We know -- I would just tell you that we do know that some, not a lot, but some cruise missile attacks inside Ukraine have emanated from surface combatants in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.  I couldn't tell you whether the Moskva participated in that and how much.

Q:  OK.  And then just to others on the USVs that the U.S. will be providing to Ukraine - will these unmanned surface vehicles be armed?  And what was their purpose or what will they be able to provide Ukraine? 

MR. KIRBY:  They're designed to help Ukraine with its coastal defense needs.  And I think I'm just going to leave it at that.  I'm not going to get into the specific capabilities, but they're designed to help Ukraine with its coastal defense needs.

Q:  As the next tranche of 800 million goes in, is there any concern that because these are more advanced weapons, Russia may contest the supply lines?  Can all those -- have those supply lines remain uncontested to this point?

MR. KIRBY:  Yes, all I can do is tell you what we're seeing today, and flights are still going into transshipment sites in the region.  And ground movement is still occurring of this material inside Ukraine.  That every single day, there are security assistance, weapons, and materiel, and support equipment that is getting into Ukrainian hands. 

And as we've said before, we're going to keep doing that as much as we can as fast as we can.  There have been no -- we have not seen any Russian efforts to interdict that flow.  And so, we're just going to keep doing it.  And as you know, we don't talk about the specifics of that flow, so that we can preserve a measure of operational security. 

And we constantly look at it every day monitor it, change it, adapt it as needed.  Yes, Sylvie.

Q:  You said that Russia still has naval superiority in the Black Sea.

MR. KIRBY:  Just in terms of numbers of ships and capabilities, I think that's, that's a mathematical truth.  Yes.

Q:  OK.  Do they block naval movements of other countries around the Black Sea, Romania for example?

MR. KIRBY:  I'm not aware of anything that they've done to affect the other sovereign states on the Black Sea.  They have blockaded Odesa.  Clearly, they have prevented Odesa from economic, trade, and flow of maritime traffic in and out of Odesa.  But I'm not aware of anything they've done to threaten or to pose a problem for the economies of other Black Sea nations.

Q:  I am not thinking about the economy and thinking about how you are going to give those unmanned defense coastal ships to Ukraine?  They have go somewhere. 

MR. KIRBY:  They'll get there.  Travis.

Q:  Thanks, John.  Is there any update from EUCOM on the plan for U.S. troops to train these Ukrainians on any of these systems?

MR. KIRBY:  I don't have any details to speak to today.  As I said yesterday, we're mindful of the clock, and we're mindful that there will be a basic fundamental training need for some of these systems.  I want to stress Travis that, as I tried to do yesterday, perhaps not perfectly, while some of these systems, the radar, the howitzers, will require some familiarization and some basic training, it's not going to -- it's not exorbitant. 

It won't take a long time.  It won't require a large pool of trainees.  We'll work it out.  We'll try to get opportunities for a small number of Ukrainians to be familiarized with these systems.  But we don't believe that it's going to be an onerous task or lengthy in time or in resources. 

General Wolters was able to brief Secretary Austin just this morning on his efforts to work this out.  And he's -- believe me, he knows that it's a requirement, and he's and he's working on it.

Q:  And if I could just follow up.  You mentioned that your identification of the remains at the top of the briefing.

MR. KIRBY:  Yes.

Q:  And this question may come out of left field a little bit but there are still thousands of U.S. service members missing in North Korea.  And during the last administration, there was really a high profile return of remains from North Korea to the United States.  I'm just wondering if this administration still has that as a priority, and if it's working that in any way, or whether it's looks at the situation with North Korea now is just being unrealistic to expect some kind agreement with them? 

MR. KIRBY:  Yes.  I'm going to take half your question, because I don't know what progress has been made with respect to the Korean peninsula.  So let me see if I can find out.  I'll check with DPAA and see where that is.  But on the larger issue that you raise, it's absolutely a priority for the secretary.  In fact, one of his -- one of his very early visits to Hawaii, he took time to go visit DPAA and talk to them about their recovery efforts, and walked through the laboratory talked to the scientists and the forensic experts.  It was quite a fascinating day, and he is 100 percent committed to doing everything that we can, and he can to support DPAA in this mission.  And it's not just Korea, it's Vietnam, it's from World War Two.  I mean, there's a lot of work that they're doing. 

And he's 100 percent supportive of that.  He certainly understands and respects, the closure that this offers to families of the fallen and the lost.  And it's an incredible effort that has spanned multiple administrations, of course, going back.  So, I can tell you, he's 100 percent committed to that.  Now, exactly what that looks like on the Korean peninsula, I'd have to get you a better answer.  Yes.

Q:  Thank you, John.  I got my audience in Ukraine.  So, I got a question on behalf of my audience.  You know, people just started to return to Kyiv right now, because the Western embassies are returning too.  It's good sign, and right now, people are just concerned so very much. 

And I spoke with my colleagues on the ground, I spoke to politicians today about this Russian military threat to strike Ukraine and decision-making centers, including those in Kyiv.  Possibly means the Minister of Defense, possibly means Office of the President. 

MR. KIRBY:  Sure. 

Q:  So, could you share your assessment, firstly is Russia, from military point of view, able to do it?  And secondly, if it will happen, and Ukraine will strike back, might it be of a significant escalation of the situation?

MR. KIRBY:  So, I mean, the first answer to your question is yes, of course, Russia still has the capability to strike Kyiv.  I mean, even as we started to see their troops retreat from Kyiv, and Chernihiv from the north, I said many times, that we do not believe that Kyiv was no longer under threat, particularly from airstrikes. 

I mean, we said that many times in the early stages of this retreat and this repositioning of Russian troops.  The Russians still have long range air strike capability available to them.  Whether it's through missiles or from air-launched cruise missiles, they -- I'm sorry, ballistic missiles or air-launch cruise missiles. 

They still have that capability available to them.  We never for a moment even as the Russians began to reposition, felt that Kyiv wasn't potentially still under threat.  I won't -- I can't and won't speak to specific intelligence assessments about what the likelihood is here.  But we are mindful that that not just Kyiv but other cities in Ukraine could still come under threat from Russian air attacks and missile strikes. 

OK.  Yes.

Q:  You know, it's kind of surprising that Russia still so strong capability to be able to strike in Kyiv and elsewhere.  Is the Pentagon surprised that they haven't tried to make an attempt on these weapons convoys?  And is it -- was that part of the calculus going in of where these weapons are going in that possibility the Russians...

MR. KIRBY:  We don't take any movement of weapons and systems going into Ukraine for granted, not on any given day.  And that's why we're very careful about how much information we put out there about it.  That's why that we're careful to modulate that activity on any given day.  We're not taking it for granted.  And frankly, neither are the Ukrainians either. 

We get these things into their hands and they're moving it inside their country.  And I think the less we say about that, the better.  Yes.

Q:  John, Ukraine says it reclaimed a checkpoint along the border with Belarus.  So how important was that move be at this current stage of the war?  And is Belarus still hosting those Russian soldiers not only to resupply, but redeploy them?

MR. KIRBY:  I haven't seen the report that they’ve re-taken a checkpoint, so it's difficult for me to go into much detail about that.  We have not seen -- continue to have not seen tangible efforts by Belarus, to involve their troops inside Ukraine.  Now, that said, they have housed Russian troops on their soil, continue to do so today.  They have allowed missile strikes to occur from their soil.  They have allowed for airstrikes to be launched from their soil.  So, clearly, they are enabling the Russian invasion inside Ukraine.  But in terms of their actual forces being involved, we just have not seen that.  And again, I haven't seen this report, so, it's difficult for me to assess the significance of this checkpoint.  But it certainly wouldn't surprise me given that once -- that as the Russians were retreating from the north, the Ukrainians were in hot pursuit, and doing the best they could to make that retreat more difficult for the Russians, more hasty than I think they wanted it to be. 

And of course, they had to do a significant amount of clearance because of concerns for landmines, Phil.  Yes, in the back there.

Q:  Mike Stone from Reuters.

MR. KIRBY:  It was just yesterday, that's all.  I just didn't know. 

Q:  Just reminding you.

MR. KIRBY:  But I got it.  I -- your face is burned on my brain.  Mike Stone, Reuters.  Got it.  Go ahead Mike Stone.

Q:  Yesterday's package didn't include any stinger missiles.  Is there a reason for that?  Did the Ukrainians rescind their request for stingers?  Or has the United States par stock been reached?

MR. KIRBY:  No.  No.  No.  Again, every shipment is based on consultations that we're having directly with Ukrainians.  I think, you know, we detailed for you pretty specifically what was in this $800 million.  And these were items that we knew, and then Ukrainians made clear that they wanted.  I mean, we'll have some -- later after the briefing today, I think we'll be able to give you an update on the total numbers of things that we provided, including stingers. 

And you'll see that it's quite a lot, and I would not rule out going forward in future drawdown packages, or deliveries of security assistance that there might be additional stingers going forward.  But this package was very much tailored in consultation with the Ukrainians, on what they believed they needed, specifically for the fight in the Donbas. 

And as we talked about yesterday, given the terrain, given the kinds of reinforcements given the kinds of capabilities that the Russians -- bless you -- are beginning to push into that region.  Things like artillery, and counter artillery radar, those were some of the big items that we really believe were most important for this next tranche. 

But wouldn't rule out additional deliveries of stingers going forward.  Yes, Barb.

Q:  But I wanted to follow up and clarify on your answer to Idrees on the embassy.  You said, you know, because of Marines providing security that this appears that the Defense Department would be part of any discussions but that no decision has been made. 

So, to make sure I understand.  Yes, there are discussions about when, if, how to reopen the embassy?

MR. KIRBY:  I'd refer you to my colleagues at the State Department.

Q:  And you said you would be part of these discussions because no decision has been made.  Can you tell us if you are discussing it with them?

MR. KIRBY:  I would refer you to the State Department.

Q:  My other question is Medvedev, I can't say his name.  That Medvedev said today that Russia would significantly bolster its western flank, and start moving things, weapons there if Finland and Sweden were to join NATO.  And I was wondering if you had any update, whether you yet see Russia moving weaponry towards that flank?

MR. KIRBY:  I don't have any update for you on that.  Yes, Joe.

Q:  Thanks.  The president has used his drawdown authority several times, now.  I think it might be seven, to transfer U.S. military equipment to Ukraine from U.S.  stock piles.  And the follow up on your answer yesterday, you said that they aren't yet on safe levels.  Can you share the metric for that assessment?

MR. KIRBY:  We're going to be careful about that.  Joe, I think you can imagine.  I would just tell you that this is something we're watching every single day.  And it's one of the reasons why we wanted to have that roundtable yesterday with CEOs.  I'm not going to get into specific metrics.  But I can assure you that we are not at the point where our inventories of these systems have or will imminently affect our readiness. 

We're watching this literally every single day.  And we don't want to get to a point where that becomes an issue, which is why again, one of the reasons why we had this discussion yesterday with the CEOs.  We're comfortable that our stocks are in keeping with our readiness needs.  But we obviously know that as these packages go on, and as the need continues inside Ukraine, we want to lead turn that. 

We want to be ahead of the bow wave on that and not get into a point where it becomes a readiness issue.

Q:  To that end, will the Secretary be recommending at any point that the Defense Production Act be used to ramp up production?

MR. KIRBY:  I don't have anything to predict with respect to that, Joe.  I'm not anticipating that.  And obviously that would be a discussion between the president and secretary, but I know no such discussions on that right now.  Janne.

Q:  Thank you.  I have two questions on North Korea and Russia -- South Korea.  Recently the Russian defense minister has asked the North Korean leader Kim Jung-un to provide the missiles, ammunition, weapons to use for Ukraine war.  What can you say about the military cooperation between North Korea and Russia?

MR. KIRBY:  I don't have much context on any cooperation between North Korea and Russia.  Obviously, we wouldn't approve of any nation providing material support to Russia in this invasion of Ukraine.

Q:  North Korea and China, excuse me, is opposed to economic and military aid.  This can be affected more strong war in Ukraine and it affected the Korean peninsula?  How do you estimate this?

MR. KIRBY:  Yes, again, we -- I have -- let me put it this way.  We haven't seen any tangible support from either China or North Korea to Russia, point one.  Point two, we, in addition to doing everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself, we also have responsibilities in South Korea to help the South Koreans defend themselves and to reinforce our security commitments on the Korean peninsula.  And we're still very able and very capable of doing that.

Q:  One more on South Korea, excuse me, because I have an (inaudible).  With the aircraft carrier, Abraham Lincoln, is in Korea right now -- in Korean Peninsula.  Will this Abraham Lincoln, join U.S. and South Korea joint exercise next week?  Or why they come into the Korean Peninsula?

MR. KIRBY:  It's not uncommon for U.S. aircraft carriers to steam in that part of the world.  Not unusual at all, I don't have anything on the Lincoln schedule to speak to today or what exercises she might contribute to.  I would refer you to U.S.  Forces Korea for that. 

But look, freedom of navigation is freedom of navigation, and our carriers demonstrate significant maritime power all over the world.  It's not uncommon for them to operate in those waters.  Mike.

Q:  Yes, John.  The Moskva was the flagship of the Black Sea fleet.  Do you know the identity of the admiral who's flag it was?  And what his disposition? 

MR. KIRBY:  I don't...

Q:  Was he evacuated?  Did he transfer his flag to another ship?

MR. KIRBY:  You know, I've seen colloquial comments about her being the flagship of the Black Sea fleet.  I have nothing to corroborate that she was in fact a real flagship in the way that we consider a flagship.  I mean, she's obviously the cruiser, and probably the biggest surface combatant that they have in the Black Sea at this point. 

And there's only you know, there's only three in that class.  So, the Russians didn't make a lot of them.  But whether she was an actual flagship with an actual admiral on staff aboard the way we conceive of it, I just don't know.  Yes.  Yes.  Ryo.

Q:  Thank you.  I want to ask you about security deal between China and the Solomon Islands.  The diplomatic efforts are ongoing to encourage the Solomon Islands to reconsider because they have a deal.  So, from the military perspective, do you think if security deal is a part of China's growth efforts to project power beyond the second island chain?

MR. KIRBY:  It certainly could be I refer you to the State Department for more detail.  I would just tell you that we do understand that the Solomon Islands and the PRC are discussing a broad security-related agreement.  The broad nature of that agreement itself, leaves open the door for the potential deployment of PRC military forces to the Solomons Islands -- Solomon Islands, excuse me. 

And we believe that signing such an agreement could actually increase destabilization within the Solomon Islands and could set a concerning precedent for the wider Pacific Island region.  So, I mean, obviously we're concerned about this.  OK.  Let me go to the phones.  I haven't done that very much.  Jeff Schogol.  Happy Birthday, Jeff.

Q:  Thank you very much.  The Air Force is helping families of transgender, gay, and lesbian children who are in states that have passed anti-gay and trans laws like Florida, Alabama, and Texas.  I'm wondering is the Defense Department coming up with any policies to help military families who feel that the -- who live in states that have passed laws like this?

MR. KIRBY:  Jeff, I'm not aware of any departmental wide policies.  I think what the Air Force did was communicate to airmen and their families, that if they needed any assistance or advice or counsel as they transferred from base to base that there was a set of resources available to them.  Carla Babb, VOA.

Q:  Hey, thanks, John.  Like Barb, I am interested in Russia's threat to deploy nuclear weapons in around the Baltic, should Finland and Sweden join NATO.  How concerning is this threat to the Pentagon?  And also, Medvedev was claiming that Russia was not to blame for this.  What do you say about that…sorry, that’s my daughter.

MR. KIRBY:  Sounds like you got a bit of an armed conflict going on there at home?  Are you OK?

Q:  We are OK.  That is what happens when you try to lock your office door and you have a four-year-old. 

MR. KIRBY:  That did not sound nonviolent.  Man, I got to get my brains wrapped around this again.  Look, we obviously take any potential nuclear threat very, very seriously.  And we noted early on in the conflict when Mr. Putin decided to offer some bellicose rhetoric with respect to nuclear capabilities, that -- we noted at the time that we took that seriously, and that we continue to monitor it as best we can.  So, with respect to any recent rhetoric, we're obviously watching that very closely too.  I would just tell you, again, two things.  Our strategic nuclear deterrent posture is something that the secretary checks in on every single day, it is not something that we take for granted. 

And number two, we have seen nothing in this space out there that has given us cause to change that posture in any tangible way whatsoever.  So we're watching this every single day.  Tony Capaccio.

Q:  Hi, John, I want to go back to the unmanned coastal defense ships.  A senior defense official told reporters today that Ukraine officers in the U.S. have already trained on them.  A couple of questions for you.  Are the vehicle -- are the vessels coming from Navy prototype programs?  When are they expected to arrive in Ukraine waters?  And third, are they designed or intended to attack Russian vessels, like the cruiser Moskva?

MR. KIRBY:  We don't have shipment details for as I said, at the very top of the briefing.  As I can get you more information about actual deliveries, we'll do that.  I'm just not in a position to do that.  The authorization just came down yesterday.  And we're working very hard at sourcing these things and getting them on the way to Ukraine as quickly as possible. 

I'm not going to talk about the specific capabilities of these USVs.  I've talked about them to the degree that we're going to go.  And they are designed to help Ukraine with its coastal defense.  Coastal defense is something that Ukraine has repeatedly said they're interested in.  It is particularly an acute need now, as we see the Russians really refocus their efforts on the east and in the south. 

And of course, when you talk about the east and the south, you're talking about the Sea of Azov in a maritime environment and you're talking about the northern Black Sea.  So, these capabilities will be -- we hope, helpful in their coastal defense needs.  And I really think that's as far as I'm going to go on it. 

OK.  Thanks, everybody.  Appreciate it.  We are not briefing tomorrow, given the holiday weekend coming up.  So, we'll see you guys on Monday.