Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby Holds a Briefing | May 9, 2022

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby briefs the news media at the Pentagon, May 9, 2022.


in one day decided you’re excited. That can we just decide it’s Friday then. I mean, why not Right, all right, a couple of things at the top and then we’ll get right to it right to you. So I just wanted to um make you wear. The Secretary had two phone calls with counterparts this morning. First he spoke with the Greek Minister of National Defense regarding the situation in Ukraine. Of course. He thanked Greece for its security assistance and contributions to Ukraine. They also discussed the importance of continued allied and partner assistance um and agreed to continue to closely collaborate on these issues, including finding a time to meet in Washington later this year. They also reviewed the deepening defense partnership between the United States and Greece resulting from the updated us Greece. Mutual Defense cooperation agreement. Secretary also continued his routine conversations with the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Minister Reznikoff. Um So they had yet another talk this morning. Secretary highlighted For Minister Reznikoff. The president’s announcement last Friday of an additional $150 million dollars in presidential drawdown authority to continue to provide Ukraine’s armed forces with artillery, counter artillery radars and electronic jamming equipment. Uh And the Minister was grateful for this additional support also helped share his view of what was going on on the battlefield with Secretary Austin. Secretary Austin emphasized our enduring commitment to bolster Ukraine’s capacity to counter Russian aggression and updated the Minister on our ongoing coordination with allies and partners on security assistance efforts. I think you guys have hardest talked many times that we’re continuing to help coordinate the provision of security assistance materials from from many other allies and partners. And of course as always they pledged to remain in close contact and they of course will Um on the exercise front between May and September of this year. The US Army Pacific will participate in over 15 major exercises with multiple multi try that again. This one’s a tough one with multiple multinational and joint partners across the Indo Pacific. During this period of time, Army pacific will execute operation pathways across the indo pacific and Asia deploying thousands of troops and equipment sets to execute tactical actions that solve operational and strategic problems. The first of these events is an exercise that’s called mara. Um did I say that right Mike Morar which began Saturday uh in French Polynesia from now until the 21st. This 13 nation exercise held in the South Pacific and there it goes and died on me right in mid sentence, luckily I’ve got a backup here. I think we’re just gonna have to go back to the old notebook. Okay, now, until the 21st this 13 nation exercise held in South pacific environment will improve interoperability, enhance the ability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and share knowledge and expertise. Army pacific soldiers and marines along with the U. S. S. Pearl Harbor. Approximately 1000 total will primarily train with the French military to further strengthen relationships and help help increase our presence in the region. So very exciting exercise. Lots to get done over the next few months and we’ll keep you guys updated on that. We’ll start with questions and leader, I think you’re up. Mhm. Thanks John. Um two things with the pace of the the weapons and other U. S. Contributions to Ukraine going fairly quickly, how long before the pentagon is going to need the additional drawdown authority in order to avoid some delays in sending some material um to Ukraine. And then my second, the second question is on training at this point as you look at the training that’s being given to the Ukrainian troops. Um can you give us a sense of what the demand is for the training and whether or not the Florida National Guard is enough or you’re gonna have to bolster that. Where do you see that going? Thank you. Um So on the second question, we don’t right now see a need to boost the number of trainers. We believe that with the assets we already have and of course the Florida National Guard are participating and helping in that, but they’re not the only ones you saw the Canadians are also providing. Somehow it’s our training, we we believe right now we’re we’re okay but we obviously want to be flexible and if we need to change the numbers or or add people to do training. Uh We’ll certainly be open to looking at that. Um and I completely blanked on your first question they draw down authority house, how long before that that starts to run out. You’ve used all about I think about 100 million seven million left in the current authorities. Um and uh we believe that between what the president just announced Friday and the 100 million that we still have left and we’re gonna be working that in real time with the Ukrainians that that will get us to about the third week of this month is what we’re pretty much anticipating. Which is why we uh we continue to urge Congress to pass the President’s supplemental request as soon as possible so that we can continue to provide aid to Ukraine. Uninterrupted. So um we think with what we got left that’ll get us through most of this month and in terms of uh future packages and future material. But but that’s why we’re urging Congress to act quickly trees over the weekend. Some U. S. Diplomats went back to the embassy in Kiev. Um Are there any marines yet at the embassy? And and if not have any of them gone to do sort of assessments in in in the case that there is a need for them there there was no marine security attached to the diplomats. Everything was done through diplomatic security personnel. There was no need to have the marines there. Remember the mission of the marine security detachment is to protect what is considered us soil. That’s why they’re there And right now the embassy is not fully occupied. And so uh we’re not, it’s not considered it mean it’s obviously still our embassy, but there’s there’s no need to have a permanent Marine Corps security detachment there. So we’re in constant discussions with the State Department here and um we’ll certainly follow their lead as they determine what sort of embassy presence they want and on what timeline. But there were no marines, no US military involved in this uh in this visit to to keep into the embassy. And the second question reports from Ukraine and the Russian sort of suggest the territorial gains in the east are very limited on both sides. Is it too early to say we’re at a stalemate now in the Donbass as far as the ground offensive. Just Yeah, I mean look, when you say the word stalemate, I mean too many people look at that and they think, well that means nobody’s moving right, that everything is kind of stuck. You think of World War One and trench warfare and everybody’s kind of and it’s very dynamic injuries. I would not call it a stalemate. Um There are literally towns and villages that are changing hands sometimes in the course of a day or so. Um and we assess that the Russians continue to make incremental progress moving uh down from the north uh pushing down into the Donbas area from the north of that area, particularly along the line of access coming out of a town called Elysium. Um but it’s incremental and it’s still plotting, as I’ve said it, it’s it’s slow and it’s uneven and they continue to meet very stiff Ukrainian resistance. So, um no, we would not call it a stalemate in the classic sense that just everything is frozen. It’s not frozen. There’s a lot of artillery going back and forth. There’s a lot of movement back and forth. It’s just that when you take two steps back in the aggregate, you don’t see the Russians really making a lot of progress over the course of time. We still believe that they are behind their own schedule. Uh and that what progress they’re making is very limited in terms of just geographic reach gen john I’d like to get your reaction to Putin’s speech on Red Square today at Victory Day and the fact that they didn’t have any flyovers. They usually fly overs. Um What what did you notice about this? And what’s your reaction to the words he chose and what he said? I can’t account for their parade planning. Uh and what assets they had or didn’t have. I think Ministry of Defense can Mr. Putin can speak to their their parade. What I would tell you is that um we still heard some of the same bluster, some of the same uh falsehoods. Uh some of the same. Um quite frankly, just untruths in terms of his rhetoric that we’ve heard from the beginning. I mean, he talked about um he talked about this being a justified Military operation. It’s not he still had diplomatic options on the table on February 24 and chose to ignore them. Ukraine posed no threat, not only no threat to Russia, but no threat to anybody else. So it wasn’t justified. He said it was timely that it needed to happen now. No, it didn’t. Again, he had plenty of options available to him, and he said, and he talked about, you know, the ridding the region or of Ukraine of Nazis. Um you know, who’s in Ukraine? Ukrainians? Not Nazis. I mean, it was just a ridiculous claim. Um So we heard pretty much the same out of out of Mr. Putin, what we didn’t hear. Not that we expected too, but what we should have heard was plans for how he’s going to end the war, How he’s gonna move his forces out of Ukraine. Uh and how he’s gonna finally respect Ukraine as a sovereign state and nation that borders his a nation, that posed absolutely zero threat. That’s what we didn’t hear. And I think that’s what uh what he should have said, he said in his speech that Ukraine was on the verge of getting nuclear weapons. And that that was one of the reasons they went in another falsehood just not true. And the Ukrainian government says that 100 1.2 million Ukrainians have now been deported to Russia and are in these camps. Do you have evidence of that? Do you see these camps? Are these concentration camps? I can’t I can’t assert to the number. Um but we we um we certainly have seen indications that Ukrainians are being moved from Ukraine into Russia. I can’t speak to how many camps or what they look like. I mean, I don’t know that we have that level of detail, but we do have indications that Ukrainians are being taken against their will into Russia. Again, unconscionable, not the behavior of responsible power. Certainly another indication that he simply won’t accept and respect Ukrainian sovereignty and that they are citizens of another nation. Isn’t that ethnic cleansing though? If you take 1.2 million people from a country and move them to camp, So I’m gonna let that that’s not a determination that is best coming from the U. S. Defense Department, we’ve long talked about the fact that we do believe Russian soldiers continue to conduct war crimes. Um but beyond that, I think we’re gonna I think it’s better not for the Defense Department to make that kind of determination. There’s a process for that and it doesn’t reside here in the pentagon and we want to respect that. But look, I mean, Again, you don’t have to look very far to see evidence of Russian brutality here. Uh continued, we’re on day 75, Which means 75 days of brutalizing um the nation of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Um, and every time you think they just can’t fall to a new low, they prove you wrong. Yeah. Travis. Thanks john. With all the U. S. Weapons and hardware flowing into Ukraine. Is there any concern about the Ukrainians ability to maintain that equipment? Um, do they have the capacity to do that? And um, as the department’s been having any discussions with the Ukrainians about potential solutions like using private contractors to work on the look, I mean, one of the reasons why, I mean, you’ve talked and we’ve talked about the kinds of systems we’re giving them is we’re we really are trying to provide them the kinds of things they know how to already use. And that’s why we’ve been working with so many other nations that who have inventories of old soviet era, uh, weapons and systems because that’s what the Ukrainians are, are comfortable with what they’re trained on. It’s what they’re used to using. Um, now we have started to, as the war has gone on and and they have, you know, continue to work themselves through some of those systems. We have been trying to provide them with some additional advanced systems that do come from our inventory. The howitzer is a great example that they, But that required some training. It still is, we’re now trained more than 300 Ukrainian artillery man On the howitzers. And there’s another 50 plus that are going through that training right now. We’ve also just started today a two week maintainer course for the howitzer. Because it is, it is a system that not only did they not have experience using, but they don’t have experience maintaining. And as you use these things, any artillery men will tell you there, they’re they’re gonna break every now and then there’s gonna be required maintenance. And so we’ve just now started a two week course uh just actually started today to to take uh some artillery men and put them through some some maintenance training. And I suspect that that that too will be an ongoing requirement. Um and if that’s needed for some of the other systems will look at that. But I think, you know, some of the other systems like the counter artillery radar, the mobile air defense radar, um uh right now we’re focused on getting them the operational uh training on that. And if we feel like there’s a need to do additional training on maintaining, well, we’ll do that, I just don’t have any plans to announce for that. So, but but but Travis what we’re we while we understand the need to do that as you give them more capable systems, we also want to be mindful that we don’t overload their system with too much of that because they’re still very much in an active fight um and manpower matters to them in that fight. So it’s a balance. You want to make sure that they can use the material that they can up keep it up and maintain it. But you don’t want to put such an onerous requirement on them, that it, that it distracts them too much from the fight at hand. So, again, this is another reason why, you know, we’re staying in touch with Minister Reznikoff to have that kind of conversation to make sure that we’re striking the best balance in that regard. I think that’s the concern there is so much moving in that they might not have the capacity. So is the sense that this new training program that for maintainers that you’re putting together will fill that need, Or do you anticipate that there’s going to be additional need that they’re gonna have to figure out some way? I think it’s too soon to know. But what I can tell you is that that we’re gonna stay open minded here. And if there’s a need for additional training, if there’s a need for other systems that could use some maintenance support to include the provision of spare parts, because we can’t expect that the Ukrainians are gonna necessarily have all the spare parts for these things, then, you know, we’re gonna do that. In fact, we have already, uh, the howitzers are a great example. I mean, as part of the shipment of the actual pieces, the the, the artillery tubes, we have already started to flow in spare parts, the kinds of parts that are the ones that you know, that you need the most when you’re using them in in combat. So we’re gonna stay open minded on that. Yeah, Yeah. On $100 million dollars left. Is it just 100 million left out of the $3.8 billion $100 million we have about $100 million dollars left And then the rest of it has been used in procurement of arms and ammunition. Were talking about drawdown authority only. And so that’s why the president asked as part of this, of this $33 billion five billion of it is just for additional presidential drawdown authority. Six billion is to be used in the Ukraine security assistance initiative. So that’s, That’s where that six billion would be, where we would go out. And by the material specifically to with the purpose specifically descended into Ukraine. The drawdown authority allows us to go get it off our shelves. We already own it. It’s already ours and get it right to Ukraine. So we have about 100 million left. Uh, in terms of what we haven’t announced. Um, we think and again, this is an estimate, but third week of this month. Uh, well by the third week of the month, we expect to, to, uh, to, to utilize all of that. Um, which is why again, we encourage Congress to act quickly on the supplemental that the president submitted because that will, will be able to just keep the flow going uninterrupted. As you have seen. We have continued drawdown packages. It varies in frequency, but pretty pretty, pretty frequently, sometimes more than one a week, depending on what we’re giving to them. So, um, obviously time is of the essence. We want to be able to, we’d like to be in a situation where there’s no interruption to that ability to draw down our own stocks. Donbas, of course it has been weeks Russians have been building up. Um, there are forces in Donbas and then you have been saying that they are just moving extremely slowly. Can you? To what extent is the building? I think that Russians are going to fail in Donbas as well. If you give that we’re not, we’re not gonna predict, you know, the outcome here, cassie. And that’s that, that I can’t, I can’t imagine in what world that would be a prudent thing for us to do. What, what all we can do is tell you what we’re seeing and I’ve done that. And the other thing we can do is To continue to talk to Ukrainians as we did today about their needs in the Donbass specifically. And making sure that we’re doing our best to meet that, that $150 million dollars package that we announced Friday uh that that does that, that it’s very much in line. Um, and the next 100 million if if in fact it’s 100 million, I don’t know what the amount is going to be for the next package. But let’s assume that that’s it. We’ll do exactly the same working with the Ukrainians about what they need. So what, what, I can’t predict outcomes on the battlefield. We would never do that. What I can predict for you is that our commitment to helping Ukraine defend itself for the fight there in that will absolutely continue. Zoe yes, thank you. Um you said that the fighting is very dynamic. Um do you see the artillery that us has provided to the Ukrainians making a difference on the ground? We know again our knowledge is limited. Once these things go into Ukraine, they belong to Ukraine and how and when they use them is up to them all. I can do is tell you that um that what we’re hearing from the Ukrainians are Uh two things, one that they are get they are being used, the howitzers specifically are being used in combat. Now, I don’t know how many and I don’t know where, but they are being used and that they are effective. Uh and that there is as we have long said, there would be that there is a heavy reliance in this particular fight in the Donbass region, specifically on artillery long range fires is the way we talk about it here, but it’s basically artillery fire and both sides are firing artillery at the other’s positions. Um, so, so we know we know they’re being useful and we’re hearing that directly from the Ukrainians. Or I’m just curious as you, as you near the third week of this month and and near the end of the, of the drawing on authority, does the pace of equipment going into Ukraine continue at its at its previous place? Or is that slow as you near the last bit? No, we’re not slowing it down based on, I mean, we’ve, we’ve gotten enough indications out of Congress and there’s bipartisan support for supporting Ukraine II. Uh, everything coming out of the hill tells us that that, that this supplemental will will be acted on and approved. Um, that doesn’t mean we still don’t wanted to get acted on very, very quickly so that there is no interruption. But, but as for the pace, it’s it’s it’s going to the same speed as it was before. I mean, there are still, I mean, multiple, multiple flights a day heading into the region into transshipment sites outside of Ukraine, not just from the United States, but from other nations as well. Um, and there’s still a daily movement on the ground of that material inside Ukraine, that’s still happening at pace. Now. Again, we’re always adjusting. Uh, you know, I’m not, I can’t say the same number of, of, of shipments get into Ukraine on any given day. You have to adjust it based on the security environment and the threat, and also the absorption rate of the Ukrainians. And how much can they, you know, how much they’re in a fight. So you don’t want to throw the kitchen sink on him every day when they have, and they haven’t, you know, figured out a place to put everything or where they’re going to, where they’re going to move it to. So, again, that’s a constant balance that we’re striking and that’s why we’re in touch with the Ukrainians everyday. But short answer to your question is, uh, we’re not allowing The fact that we’re down to 100 million left and we think that that will get us through the third week of the month to slow down what we’re already providing. Um, and we want to have a little flexibility with, with what we’ve got left to make sure that, that it, that it more discreetly, you know, meets their needs. So we’re, we, we know there’s not much left in this current set of authorities. Uh, so we want to use it smartly and we want to make sure that that as we work, that next package, that it’s again, lockstep with what their requirements are, David. Do you have a plan for what you would do with the legislation isn’t enacted by the third week? Well, we’ve got we still have some, as you heard from Mr. LaPlante, we still have some um some money in terms of U. S. A. I. The uh security assistance initiative to go purchase things uh, to to to provide them. Um, but we’re working closely with Congress on this. And again, we’ve seen no indication that uh, this is gonna be uh an issue. I mean, every indication we’re hearing, including from Speaker Pelosi just yesterday, is that Congress will act on this. Does that lend lease legislation make it possible to just send stuff without, oh, without any money from Congress? I think I’ll let I’ll let the president speak for for this. Um, and I think there’ll be more, he’ll have more to say on this later today. I don’t want to get ahead of the of the president. I would just say that any uh any support that we get from Congress and Congress has been very supportive. But any additional support we get from Congress in terms of security assistance to Ukraine is welcome. And uh, and we’ll work inside that. Good. You just want to go back to the stalemate and the stalemate a little bit, you know, a few weeks ago. 3, 4 weeks ago. There was a lot of energy behind the idea that those weeks that we’re now in after the Russians retrenched and focused on the east, You know, what was a do or die moment? And then it was critical to seeing how well it would, how well they would do. They’re just not, you know, despite the incrementalism and battlefield, there does not seem to be those kinds of objectives overtaken. What are you guys at all surprised by the lack of that momentum? Now? You’re forgetting like whatever happens on the battlefield, But are you surprised with the lack of momentum that they’ve achieved thus far? And uh what do you think that means either way, the lack of momentum by the Russians? I wouldn’t say there’s surprise. I mean, uh we’re watching this unfold in real time, same as you Gordon? Um in fact, some of what we thought I was going to happen has happened. We knew that this would be an artillery fight and it’s turning out to be an artillery fight. Uh, we knew that um the Russians would meet a stiff Ukrainian resistance because they have been there since, since before the war began. I mean, there’s been fighting in the Donbas region and that has proven true that the Ukrainian resistance in the Donbas remains uh stiff. Um and that um progress in the Donbas, because of the terrain, because of the because of the weather, the mud. Um and because of the fact that it’s not that it’s flat, it’s open, it’s not as urban, that uh that it would be that that that the Russians would have to in order to achieve their progress, they would have to focus on small towns and villages unlike, well earlier, remember we were talking about encircling, right, trying to encircle Kiev, uh china, heave hark eve, um miccoli of all these, these larger towns and so what we’re seeing now is a focus on sort of smaller games, smaller towns and villages. Um and again, this is terrain that the Ukrainians know extraordinarily well, so I don’t know that there’s like a lot of surprise here, but um but it’s certainly clear at least Where we stand on day 75 and nobody knows what day 76 is going to look like that the Russians have not overcome the challenges that they were trying to overcome in this new part of the conflict. They haven’t uh they’ve they’ve gotten a little bit better at logistics and sustainment, but not so much that they, that they, that they feel comfortable outrunning or even attempting to outrun their lines of supply. They haven’t solved their command and control problems. Um Uh they have submitted now that they’ve put in the fight more than 90 Battalion tactical groups, but it’s not clear exactly what the operational effectiveness is of all those because so many of them have been depleted because of the previous fighting. Um and we don’t believe that they have, while they have tried to get better and you certainly see pockets where there are more integrated air to ground and maneuver between units. It’s not, it hasn’t jelled yet. So um so they they’re certainly trying to to get better, but there’s there’s not an indication here that they’ve solved all their problems. And as you might recall A week or so ago, we were talking about that that that that it remained to be seen whether they were going to be able to fix the kind of problems that they had in the north and thus far, day 75, it doesn’t appear like they have. Uh Okay, thank you. I want to ask you about South Korea. The new administration will come into the office tomorrow that they are strongly interested in reinforcing the deterrence against North Korea is the US willing to discuss a bigger military exercises more U. S. Assets on the Korean peninsula with the new administration. I would get ahead of discussions that haven’t happened. Um We we look forward to working uh with with the new government in South Korea as we do with with every new administration there. South Korea remains a key ally. We’re always going to look for ways to make the alliance better and more capable and uh well I’ll leave it there. We’ll see where the discussions go separate question on North Korea. The US publicly said that North Korea could be ready to conduct a nuclear test as areas this once. So generally speaking, you are reluctant to talk about intelligence matters in public. So what effect do you expect by disclosing intelligence or nuclear test? Do you expect? It works as a deterrence against North Korea. We were doing that because we are a responsible nation that prioritizes uh the reduction of strategic risks. Um and uh we believe firmly that the international community must speak with a unified voice to oppose further development of such weapons by by the north. So we’re doing it because it’s the responsible thing to do Mike. Yeah. Speaking of artillery. Oh man why don’t you just come up and give this part of the briefing? Ukraine has specifically asked for sp howitzers like the one or nine because it will provide them with more mobility on the battlefield and the level of ballistic protection that you won’t get on an M. 777 um uh Frances sitting over assisted over a dozen of their wheeled howitzers, the Caesar, the Netherlands Belgium and Italy have all agreed to either send over the M. One oh nines themselves or the German PCH 2000 sP howitzer. My question is the U. S. Has more M. One R. Nine than any country in the world. Why is the administration dragging his feet on sending these weapons systems to Ukraine? And they need them now they wanted I would I would take issue that we’re dragging our feet on anything like I mean no nation has done more to support Ukraine security needs in the United States. No nation. I mean in just the drawdown authorities we’ve used already. Uh we’ve we’ve provided Ukraine almost the equivalent of their entire defense budget for 2021. Um, so I take I take issue with the idea that we’re dragging our feet what we are doing, including today in the call with Minister Reznikoff is talking to the Ukrainians at the senior levels all the way down to the staff level, but what they need and what we can provide them. Um, and it’s not just the United States, as you well noted, other nations are providing systems as well. So I’m not going to get, I’m not going to get inside the conversations we’re having with the Ukrainians on uh privately about their needs. But I think the proof is in what we’re announcing every day about how seriously we’re taking their requirements. Louis, she’s been talking about how the the incremental progress in the east has been due to the stiff Ukrainian resistance. There’s also, and some of the problems they’ve had with their own logistics and sustainment, command and control integration. I mean, it’s a combination, but there’s also a big rush to try to get those howitzers in very, very quickly. And almost all of them. Can you comment on what effect the howitzers have had as part of the combined efforts. Again, all I can do is is tell you what we’re hearing from the Ukrainians. Again, we don’t we don’t track each tube and where it’s at and how many rounds is firing on any given day. It belongs to Ukraine when it goes in there. Um, and they use it as they see fit. Um, we, we know as my answer to Sylvia, we know that they’re they’re getting in and they’re actually being used in combat. We know that um, you heard the secretary testified to that last week. Um, uh, and what we’re hearing from Ukrainians are they are they are very useful and uh, and they’re grateful for them and that they are having an impact because they’re additive to their own artillery pieces. I mean, all told the 90 that were, that were providing us, you know, provides them 5 to 7 battalions worth of, of houses, that’s that’s not insignificant. Um, but I don’t have, you know, I couldn’t give you the GPS coordinates for each one and exactly how many rounds is firing and what it’s hitting. The indications we’re getting from the Ukrainians are they’re there in combat and they’re and they’re being effective and more broadly louis if you just take a step back and, you know, back to address this question about stalemate, what’s going on. If you just take a look at what’s going on, the fighting over these small towns and villages. Uh, some of them trading hands over the course of just a couple of days you can see. Um, I mean, I’ve I’ve seen some of the overhead imagery you can see um, how active and artillery fight this really is. I mean it is, you know, the back to Gordon’s question, I mean it is exactly like we thought it was gonna be like the Ukrainians thought it was gonna be very dependent on long range fires. And both sides are both sides are applying artillery in this fight. You think that this moment that Gordon described the pivotal two weeks in the rush to get him in there in time that has borne fruition. We um I certainly wouldn’t speak for the Ukrainians. I think it’s better for them to speak to their assessment of how they’re doing and how and how much uh more specifically how much the Western aid has helped. But but again are indications from talking to them is that it has been incredibly critical to their ability to continue to to defend themselves in the Donbas, particularly the howitzers and the rounds that go with them. Because it’s such a it’s such reliant on it is so reliant on long range fires. But it’s not just that, I mean, you know, the counter artillery radars that they’re going to be able to use will help them defend against Russian artillery. Uss will help give them eyes and longer range strike capability. Um I mean it’s not just that we’re talking a lot about howitzers today, which I never thought I’d be able to do with any semblance of of knowledge. Thank you mike. But but uh but it’s not just that and again what the, the, the feedback we’re getting is that these things, all these things, but particularly the artillery support is making a difference. Yeah, Christina. Given the deterioration that sort of again, in Hong Kong the security democratic systems there that are, that are just kind of slowly being taken away. Uh Do you see any sort of or would you like to talk to address some of the changes that might, that might engender in the security situation in the region? No. Well, I missed Well in Hong Kong we’ve had a recent change in the way the governor governorship is going to be. I think that’s a better question put to ned price over at the State Department. I think I’ll refrain from that. Any change in the security situation participate that in the region. I am not aware of any the security situation that’s different. Joe Gould. Hey john, thanks for taking my question. Um, I want to ask you on the phoenix ghost. Now that this cohort of Ukrainian troops is wrapped up training, can you tell us where that training took place and now that we know phoenix go stem from an air force program. Can you tell us if the trainers were with the US Air Force? Yeah, the trainers were forced. I think I talked about that last week. Um the, the training, the week long training for phoenix ghost took place at Ramstein. Uh and it wrapped up. It just wrapped up, I think, I think yesterday. Okay, I’m gonna have to call it there. Thanks very much. We’ll talk to you guys tomorrow.

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