Ukraine has received new warplanes, source unnamed - Pentagon

"They [Ukraine] have received additional aircraft and aircraft parts to help them get more aircraft in the air," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

 A Ukrainian MIG-29 fighter jet lands during the Clear Sky 2018 multinational military drills at Starokostiantyniv Air Base in Khmelnytskyi Region, Ukraine October 12, 2018 (photo credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)
A Ukrainian MIG-29 fighter jet lands during the Clear Sky 2018 multinational military drills at Starokostiantyniv Air Base in Khmelnytskyi Region, Ukraine October 12, 2018
(photo credit: GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS)

Ukraine has received new airplanes after weeks of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky making appeals to friendly nations, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed during a press briefing on Tuesday. 

"They [Ukraine] have received additional aircraft and aircraft parts to help them get more aircraft in the air," said Kirby.

Kirby told reporters that Ukrain had more fixed-wing aircraft operable than they had two weeks ago.

When pressed on how they received more airplanes, Kirby said that "without getting into what other nations are providing that they have received additional platforms and parts to be able to increase their fleet size."

The US was not one of the nations that had provided additional aircraft to Ukraine but had  "helped with the shipment of some additional spare parts that have helped with their aircraft needs. But we have not transported whole aircraft."

A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005. (credit: REUTERS)A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005. (credit: REUTERS)

Kirby also explained that friendly states had provided spare parts for planes and helped repair aircraft to make them operational.

"Some nations have provided spare parts so that they can get their inoperable tanks operable again," said Kirby. "And I would say the same on aircraft. They have received support to get some of their fixed-wing aircraft  more operable again."

The aid was not limited to parts, but also expertise, as Kirby said that "other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running."

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have put out multiple pleas to Western states asking for warplanes to counter the Russian air force. Thus far, Russian air superiority has been staved off by anti-air systems. 

There were plans proposed to supplement Poland's air force with new American warplanes, who would then transfer their Soviet-made MiG-29s to Ukraine, but this was rejected by the US as being too provocative to Russia. 

Alternatively, Zelensky asked for Western forces to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

"A no-fly zone would require implementation, it would require us potentially shooting down Russian planes, NATO shooting down Russian planes.  And we are not interested in getting into World War Three,"said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a briefing in mid-March.