WATCH LIVE: Pentagon holds news briefing as Russia continues its barrage on Ukraine’s energy grid – PBS NewsHour

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Pentagon officials said Thursday that the United States is satisfied that its own munitions readiness levels are intact as the U.S. has been Ukraine’s largest supporter, providing $18.6 billion in weapons and equipment.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said the flow of weapons and assistance would continue.
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters, “We’re not going to dip below our readiness levels and we continue to assess our readiness levels with each, whether it’s a presidential drawdown package or security assistance that we announce.”
Ukrainian and Russian forces are firing tens of thousands of munition rounds a day, draining not only their own stockpiles but putting pressure on U.S. weapon supplies, raising questions about whether the U.S. has enough ammunition on hand to fight if another major land war breaks out.
Already some European allies are cautioning that their own weapons coffers are strapped as they’ve pushed forward all their excess to Ukraine.
The same goes for Russia; several Western officials have assessed that Russia is running through it’s arsenal too, which is why it has recently leaned on Iran and North Korea for help.
A defense official who spoke on the condition that they not be identified said the U.S. still has the critical level of supplies it needs both to respond to a conflict and for training purposes, and what’s been provided to Ukraine has been pulled from reserves.
READ MORE: Human rights groups report widespread abuse in Ukraine
However, another military official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity said pushing that much supply forward does create pressure on training and readiness.
Specifically, with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, which is not only getting pushed into Ukraine but is also getting purchased by other countries, it could create a situation where U.S. forces wouldn’t have enough HIMARS ammunition on hand to able to train with live rounds, and would need to do simulator training instead, the official said.
Since the war broke out the U.S. has announced major new contracts for some of the very same weapons that have proven vital to Ukraine’s self-defense.
“We’re assessing what’s on our stock — on our shelves and we’re being able to say “OK, we have X amount here and we’re not going to dip below, you know, where we feel comfortable in our readiness, and we’re going to get that to Ukraine in what we need. And so part of that is accounting for what’s actually on the shelves — what we have in stocks. So, I mean, I feel confident in our ability to do that and comply with an audit,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, NATO member Poland and the head of the military alliance both said Wednesday that a missile strike in Polish farmland that killed two people appeared to be unintentional and was probably launched by air defenses in neighboring Ukraine. Russia had been bombarding Ukraine at the time in an attack that savaged its power grid.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, at a meeting of the 30-nation military alliance in Brussels, echoed the preliminary Polish findings.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, disputed them and asked for further investigation.
Singh said, “the Polish government is leading the investigation, so we have full confidence in their deliberate manner and how they’re conducting the investigation.”
On another matter, the Pentagon announced that five Allied aircraft carriers will be operating in the Atlantic Ocean and the North and Mediterranean Seas in November, as part of their regularly scheduled operations.
“These operations present an opportunity for allied nations to coordinate credible combat power throughout the Euro-Atlantic area while showcasing NATO cohesion and interoperability,” Singh said.
Singh also said the United States addressed reports suggesting Iran had developed a hypersonic missile.
During her briefing with reporters, Singh said the United States is skeptical of reports suggesting Iran had developed a hypersonic missile.
“We will continue to monitor closely Iran’s — any development or proliferation of advanced technology coming out of Iran or missile systems,” Singh said.
By John Leicester, Associated Press
By Associated Press
By Vasilisa Stepanenko, Associated Press

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