Apr 17, 2022

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby holds news briefing 4/14/22 Transcript

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby holds news briefing 4/14/22 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsJohn KirbyPentagon press secretary John Kirby holds news briefing 4/14/22 Transcript

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby holds news briefing 4/14/22. Read the transcript here.


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John Kirby: (00:00)
Part of the Ploiesti Project, which began in 2017 at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s 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 II. Okay. Bob, I think you’re on the phone. You’re first.

Bob: (00:34)
Yes. Thank you. I am on a phone today. I hope you can hear me. On Ukraine, could you give your current assessment of the Russian ship incident 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.

John Kirby: (01:02)
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.

John Kirby: (01:26)
We do believe that there was a significant explosion on this cruiser, the Moskva of the 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 have assessment that some crew were evacuated from the ship. 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.

John Kirby: (02:19)
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. 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 have ports, as you know, on the Black Sea, so they historically have operated there.

John Kirby: (02:51)
It’d be difficult to be able to tell you that this one ship being out of commission, what exactly the impact’s 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 Odessa. So I guess it remains to be seen exactly what the major impact is going to be.

John Kirby: (03:32)
Again, that said, this is a cruiser. They only have three in this class. It’s a ship that is roughly 600 feet long, it has 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 is just, we’re 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 it’s going to have 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?

David: (04:27)
So earlier today, a defense official said that other ships in the Black Sea had sensed this explosion, moved further away from the coast for whatever reason. 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?

John Kirby: (04:56)
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. They have a long range, as you know, David, and the fact that some of them may have moved away from the Northern Black Sea, away from Odessa and the coast doesn’t mean that they are completely incapable of maneuvering to other parts of the Black Sea and launching cruise missiles. I don’t think we’d be willing to go that far just yet. Yeah?

Speaker 1: (05:27)
We hear about the airspace still being contested. The Sea of Azov, Northern Black Sea, is that considered contested? Is that in Russian hands? What’s the definition of that?

John Kirby: (05:36)
You mean the maritime environment?

Speaker 1: (05:37)
I mean the maritime environment.

John Kirby: (05:38)
I think you would be going too far if you said, or 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 Odessa, 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.

John Kirby: (06:42)
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 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 we think, in some cases, try to pin down Ukrainian ground forces near Odessa. So they still have quite a bit of naval capability available to them.

Speaker 1: (07:32)
And just a quick followup. When the embassy in Kyiv was moved to Lviv, and then to Poland, the Marines obviously move out as well.

John Kirby: (07:39)

Speaker 1: (07:40)
Are they still with the contingent of us 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.

John Kirby: (07:49)

Speaker 1: (07:49)
So if the US were to make that decision, are the Marines with the contingent enabled to move out pretty quickly back into Kyiv or how does it work?

John Kirby: (07:57)
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 of the State Department’s decision about their embassy in Kyiv and if and/or when, and how they might think about react… That’s really something for the State Department to speak to.

John Kirby: (08:26)
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?

Tara: (08:56)
Thanks John. Of the few cruise missiles that have been launched by the Russian Navy into Ukraine, can you tell us, did these-

Tara: (09:03)
… by the Russian Navy into Ukraine. Can you tell us, did these originate from the Moskva, or did some of them originate from the Moskva? And then I have a couple others.

John Kirby: (09:08)
I couldn’t tell you for sure. I mean, this is a cruiser by definition. I mean, they could do lots 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. 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 the and how and how much.

Tara: (09:42)
Okay. And then just two others. On the USVs that the U.S. will be providing to Ukraine, will these unmanned service vehicles be armed and kind of what will their purpose, or what will they be able to provide Ukraine?

John Kirby: (09:56)
Yeah. 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.

Tara: (10:09)
I know as the next tranche of 800 million goes in, is there any concern that because these are more advanced weapons, Russia may contest those supply lines? Have those supply lines remained uncontested to this point?

John Kirby: (10:21)
Yeah. All I can do is tell you what we’re seeing today. And flights are still going into trans shipment 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 material 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. We have not seen any Russian efforts to interdict that flow, and so we’re 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. Yeah. [inaudible 00:11:15]

Speaker 2: (11:15)
You said that Russia are still Naval superiority in the Black Sea.

John Kirby: (11:21)
Just in terms of numbers of ships and capabilities. I think that’s a mathematical truth. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (11:26)
Okay. Do they block Naval movements of other countries around the Black Sea? Romania, for an example?

John Kirby: (11:34)
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 its 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.

Speaker 2: (11:59)
I’m not thinking about economy. I’m thinking about how you are going to give those unmanned defense coastal shifts to Ukraine.

John Kirby: (12:12)
They’ll get there.

Speaker 2: (12:12)
They have to go somewhere.

John Kirby: (12:13)
They’ll get there. Travis.

Travis: (12:16)
Thanks, John. Is there any update from UCOM on the plan for U.S. troops to train these Ukrainians on any of these systems?

John Kirby: (12:25)
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 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 onerous task, or lengthy in time or in resources. General Walters was able to brief Secretary Austin just this morning on his efforts to work this out, and believe me, he knows that it’s a requirement and he’s working on it.

Travis: (13:35)
And if I could just follow up, you had mentioned the identification of the remains at the top of the briefing. 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 looks at the situation with North Korea now as just it just being unrealistic to expect some kind of agreement?

John Kirby: (14:11)
Yeah. 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, on one of his very early visits to Hawaii, he took time to go visit DPAA and talk to them about their recovery efforts, walked through the laboratory, talked to the scientists and the forensic experts. It was quite a fascinating day. He is 100% 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 II.

John Kirby: (14:59)
I mean, there’s a lot of work that they’re doing, and he’s 100% 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% committed to that. Now, exactly what that looks like on the Korean Peninsula, I’d have to get you a better answer. Yeah.

Speaker 3: (15:30)
Thank you, John. I got my audience in Ukraine, so I got a question on behalf of my audience. People just started to return to Kyiv for right now because the Western Embassies are returning too. It’s a 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 Ukrainian decision making centers, including those in Kyiv. Possibly means the Ministry of Defense, possibly means office of the president. So could you share your assessment, firstly, is Russia from militarily point of view, able to do it? And secondly, if it will happen and Ukraine will strike back, might it be the significant escalation of the situation?

John Kirby: (16:14)
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 airstrike capability available to them, whether it’s through missiles or from air launched cruise missiles. I’m sorry, ballistic missiles or air 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 can’t and won’t speak to specific intelligence assessments about what the likelihood is here, but we’re mindful that not just Kyiv, but other cities in Ukraine could still come under threat from Russian air attack and missile strikes. Okay. Yeah.

Speaker 4: (17:35)
It’s kind of surprising that if Russia still has such strong capabilities of being able to strike in Kyiv and elsewhere, is the Pentagon surprised that they haven’t tried to make an attempt on these weapons convos? And was that part of the calculus going in of where these weapons are going in, that the possibility that the Russians-

John Kirby: (17:53)
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-

John Kirby: (18:03)
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 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. Yeah.

Speaker 5: (18:29)
John, Ukraine says it reclaimed a checkpoint along the border with Belarus, so how important would that move be at this current stage in the war, and is Belarus still hosting those Russian soldiers, not only to resupply, but redeploy them?

John Kirby: (18:43)
I haven’t seen the report that they’ve retaken 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 in this report, so it’s difficult for me to assess the significance of this checkpoint, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me given 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. Yeah, back there.

Mike Stone: (19:54)
Mike Stone at Reuters.

John Kirby: (19:58)
It was just yesterday, that’s all, I just didn’t know.

Mike Stone: (20:01)
Just reminding you sir.

John Kirby: (20:01)
But I got it, you face is burned on my brain, Mike Stone for Reuters, got it. Go ahead Mike Stone.

Mike Stone: (20:08)
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?

John Kirby: (20:21)
No, no, no, no. Again, every shipment is based on consultations that we’re having directly with the Ukrainians, I think we detailed for you pretty specifically what was in this $800 million, and these were items that we knew, and that Ukrainians made clear that they wanted. 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 draw down packages, or deliveries of security assistance, that there might be additional stingers going forward.

John Kirby: (21:05)
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 reinforcement, 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. Yeah, Barb.

Barb: (21:45)
I wanted to follow up and clarify on your answer to [inaudible 00:21:47] on the embassy. You said because of Marines providing security 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?

John Kirby: (22:08)
I’d refer you to my colleagues at the State Department.

Barb: (22:10)
You said that you would be part of these discussions, but no decision has been made. Can you tell us if you are discussing it with them?

John Kirby: (22:17)
I would refer you to the State Department.

Barb: (22:18)
My other question is Mike [Pieto 00:22:21], I can’t say his name, Pieto said today that Russia would significantly bolster its western flank and start moving 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?

John Kirby: (22:40)
I don’t have any update for you on that.

Barb: (22:42)
Thank you.

John Kirby: (22:43)
Yeah, Joe.

Joe: (22:45)
Yes sir, thanks. The president’s used his drawdown authority several times now, I think it might be seven, to transfer US military equipment to Ukraine from US stockpiles, and to follow up on your answer yesterday, you said that they aren’t yet at unsafe levels. Can you share the metric for that assessment?

John Kirby: (23:08)
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 you every single day, and it’s one of the reasons why we wanted to have that round table 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, 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

Joe: (24:05)
To that end, will the secretary be recommending at any point that the defense production act be used to ramp up production?

John Kirby: (24:15)
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 the secretary, but I know of no such discussions on that right now. Jenny.

Jenny: (24:28)
Thank you, John, I have quick questions on North Korea and Russia. South Korea. Recently the Russian defense minister has asked the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to provide the missiles ammunition weapons to use for Ukraine war. What can you say about the military cooperation into North Korea and Russia?

John Kirby: (24:59)
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.

Jenny: (25:23)
North Korea and China, excuse me, they support economic and military aids, so it can be affect to the more strong war in Ukraine, and it affected the Korean peninsula. How did you estimate this?

John Kirby: (25:45)
Yeah, again, 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

Jenny: (26:13)
One more to South Korea, excuse me because I have a little [inaudible 00:26:19], will the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is in Korea right now, in Korean peninsula, will this Abraham Lincoln join US and South Korea join exercise next week? Or why they coming to Korean peninsula?

John Kirby: (26:41)
It’s not common for US 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 he might contribute to, I’d refer you to US Forces Korea for that, but look, freedom of navigation is freedom of navigation, and our carriers demonstrate significant maritime-

John Kirby: (27:02)
… Demonstrate significant maritime power all over the world. It’s not uncommon for them to operate in those waters. Mike?

Speaker 6: (27:09)
Yeah. John, the Moskva the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet. Do you know the identity of the admiral whose flag it was and what’s his disposition?

John Kirby: (27:18)
I don’t. I’ve seen-

Speaker 6: (27:18)
Was he evacuated? Did he transfer his flag to another ship?

John Kirby: (27:23)
Yeah. 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 … It’s a cruiser-

Speaker 6: (27:35)
She’s a cruiser, right.

John Kirby: (27:35)
… and probably the biggest surface combatant that they have in the Black Sea at this point. 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 and staff aboard the way we conceive of it, I just don’t know. Yeah. [Rio 00:00:55]?

Rio: (27:58)
Thank you. I want to ask you about the security deal between China and the Solomon Island, that diplomatic efforts are ongoing to encourage the Solomon Islands to reconsider the deal. So from the military perspective, do you think this security deal is a part of China’s broad effort to project power beyond the Second Island Chain?

John Kirby: (28:20)
It certainly could be. I’d 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 Solomon Islands.

John Kirby: (28:39)
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. Let me go to the phones. I haven’t done that very much. Jeff Schogol. Happy birthday, Jeff.

Jeff Schogol: (29:02)
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 live in states that have passed laws like this?

John Kirby: (29:26)
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?

Carla Babb: (29:53)
Hey, thanks, John. Like Barb, I am interested in Russia’s threat to deploy nuclear weapons in and around the Baltic, should Finland and Sweden join NATO. How concerning is this threat to the Pentagon? Also, Medvedev was claiming that Russia was not to blame for this. What would you say about that? Sorry, that’s my daughter.

John Kirby: (30:16)
It sounds like you got a bit of an armed conflict going on there at home. Are you okay?

Carla Babb: (30:24)
We are okay. That is what happens when you try to lock your office door and you have a four-year-old.

John Kirby: (30:30)
That did not sound nonviolent. Oh man, I’ve got to get my brains wrapped around this again. Look, we obviously take any potential nuclear threat very, very seriously. 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.

John Kirby: (31:01)
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.

John Kirby: (31:17)
Number two, we have seen nothing in the 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?

Speaker 7: (31:36)
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 US have already trained on them. A couple questions for you. Are the vessels coming from Navy prototype programs? When are they expected to arrive in Ukraine waters? Third, are they designed or intended to attack Russian vessels like the cruiser Moskva?

John Kirby: (32:02)
I don’t have a shipment details for you. 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.

John Kirby: (32:21)
I’m not going to talk about specific capabilities of these USVs. I’ve talked about them to the degree that we’re going to go. 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.

John Kirby: (32:45)
Of course, when you talk about the east and the south, you’re talking about the Sea of Azov and 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. I really think that’s as far as I’m going to go on it.

John Kirby: (33:01)
Okay. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it. We are not briefing tomorrow, given the holiday weekend coming up. So we’ll see you guys on Monday.

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