War in Ukraine
War in UkraineiStock

Ukraine has received fighter planes and aircraft parts to bolster its air force in the face of Russia's invasion, the Pentagon said Tuesday, though it would not specify the number of aircraft nor their origin.

Ukrainian forces "right now have available to them more fixed-wing fighter aircraft than they did two weeks ago," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, according to AFP.

"Without getting into what other nations are providing, they (Ukrainian forces) have received additional platforms and parts to be able to increase their fleet size," he added.

Kirby did not specify the type of aircraft delivered to the Ukrainian military, which had been pleading for warplanes for weeks, but suggested that they were Russian-made.

"Other nations who have experience with those kinds of aircraft have been able to help them get more aircraft up and running," Kirby said.

He underscored that the United States, which does not want to risk being deemed a co-combatant in the conflict by Moscow, had helped with the shipment of some parts but that it has "not transported whole aircraft."

Meanwhile on Tuesday, sources told Reuters that US President Joe Biden is expected to announce within the coming days another military aid package for Ukraine about the same size as the $800 million one announced last week.

One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a new package was expected that would be roughly the size of the previous package but details were still being worked out.

The Biden administration last week announced $800 million in additional aid, including artillery systems, artillery rounds, armored personnel carriers and unmanned coastal defense boats, broadening the scope of materiel sent to Kyiv to include new types of heavy equipment.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian forces had begun a new offensive in eastern Ukraine.

“We can now say that Russian forces have started the battle of the Donbas, for which they have long prepared,” he said in a video address.

His comments came after senior officials said Moscow had begun a new offensive push along most of Ukraine’s eastern flank.

A day earlier, Zelenskyy warned that Russia might use chemical or even nuclear weapons and urged world leaders to prepare for such contingencies.

Speaking with CNN in an interview, Zelenskyy said the potential use of chemical or nuclear weapons posed a threat to the entire planet, and urged foreign powers to prepare anti-radiation medicine and air raid shelters.

“Not only me – all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried because it can be not real information, but it can be truth,” he stated.