UPDATED 6:53 AM PT – Tuesday, April 19 2022
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby spoke on increased US involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. During a press briefing on Monday, he disclosed that Russia has begun moving their forces to the Donbas region of the country.
“I mean, we have seen the Russians continue to flow in enablers, capabilities that will help them fight in the Donbas going forward,” explained the spokesman. “That’s artillery, rotary aviation helicopter support, command and control enablers. And we do believe that they have reinforced the number of battalion tactical groups in the east and the south of Ukraine.”
Additionally, Kirby spoke on the latest shipments of military aid sent to Ukraine.
“Now again, I’m not going to get into the inventory list and exactly what was on that first shipment, but that is unprecedented speed,” he stated. “Forty-eight hours after authorization from the President, first plane was on its way and there have been subsequent shipments since then. Almost a half a dozen, as you and I speak here today, have already arrived in the region.”
48 hours. From Presidential authorization on April 13th, to the first shipments departing on April 15th. That's the speed at which we are mobilizing to help equip the Ukrainians with the material they need to defend their country. pic.twitter.com/xxAKQT2zgi
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) April 18, 2022
In the meantime, Kirby revealed the Pentagon is preparing to train Ukrainian soldiers on the use of howitzers, which were sent to Ukraine as a part of the Biden administration’s $800 million military assistance package. According to Kirby, the training will be held in an undisclosed location outside of Ukraine.
“It is true that we believe will be able to begin a process of training Ukrainian armed forces on the howitzers that will be shortly heading over,” continued the Pentagon spokesman. “That training will occur outside of Ukraine. It’ll be more of a train the trainers kind of environment, so it will be a small number of Ukrainians that will be trained on the howitzers and then they will be reintroduced back into their country to train their colleagues.”
It’s unknown if Russia will adhere to their warning about punishing the US for supplying Ukraine with equipment.