Saturday, September 24, 2022

Baltic nations will send Washington-backed weapons to Ukraine

HELSINKI – The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, which Washington says is fully backing amid Kiev’s escalating tensions with Russia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet posted on Saturday that Washington saluted the three NATO countries and the former Soviet republics for “their longstanding support to Ukraine”.

Blinken said in another tweet, “I have swiftly authorized and we fully support the transfer of defensive equipment to @NATO ally Estonia Latvia Lithuania Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and irresponsible aggression.” to strengthen the capacity of the

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier this week called Western arms supplies to Ukraine extremely dangerous and said they “do nothing to defuse tensions.”

Moscow has gathered thousands of troops along the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion. The West has rejected Moscow’s main demands – NATO’s promises that Ukraine would never be annexed as a member, that no coalition weapons would be deployed near Russian borders, and that it would withdraw from Central and Eastern Europe. will withdraw his army.

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Friday’s meeting between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ended without success.

In a joint statement published late Friday, the defense ministers of the three Baltic states said they “stand united in our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of continued Russian aggression.”

He said Estonia would provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons while Latvia and Lithuania were sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other related equipment to enhance Kiev’s defensive military capabilities.

“Today Ukraine is at the forefront of isolating Europe from a military conflict with Russia. Let’s face it – the war in Ukraine continues and it is important to support Ukraine in every way possible so that they can resist the aggressor,” Minister of Estonia Defense’s Black Lannett said.

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It was not immediately clear when the weapons and equipment would be shipped to Ukraine.

In a separate development, Estonia is seeking Germany’s approval to ship Soviet-built howitzers, once belonging to East Germany, to Ukraine. Estonia acquired howitzers from non-NATO member Finland, which in turn bought them from Germany’s military surplus supplies in the 1990s.

The German government said on Friday it was considering Estonia’s request to pass the howitzers to Ukraine, but did not give a timeline for the decision. Berlin said it planned to coordinate the issue with Finland, which has received a similar approval request from Estonia.

Some recent media reports suggested that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet had halted arms transfers to Estonia to Kiev, pointing to tensions in the West’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

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