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Baltic states step up efforts to arm Ukraine against possible Russian incursion

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Baltic states step up efforts to arm Ukraine against possible Russian incursion

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Upcoming deliveries of Stingers will give the Ukrainian military the ability to shoot down helicopters with precision.

The impending shipments were first reported by POLITICO this week when the State Department quietly approved transfers of US-made Stinger and Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

“Let’s face it, the war in Ukraine continues and it is important to support Ukraine in every way possible so that it can resist the aggressor,” Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said in a statement. a statement.

U.S. export control regulations required the three allies to obtain State Department approval before handing over weapons, approval for who came this week.

The United States has sent Javelin missiles to Ukraine in the past, and a new shipment, part of a White House-approved $200 military aid package, is expected to start arriving in the coming days, according to reports. State Department and Pentagon officials.

Stingers on their own are not necessarily a game-changing technology and have limited effectiveness against drones or high-flying fighter jets, which Russia has demonstrated in Syria is its preferred means of hitting targets. at a safe distance.

“From the Ukrainian point of view, any new capability is better than no new capability,” said Dmitry Gorenburg, senior researcher at the Naval Analysis Center who studies Russian military capabilities. “It helps if things go wrong and Ukraine finds itself in a situation where it tries to engage in a guerrilla operation – there it could be very helpful.”

The Biden administration sent about $650 million worth of military hardware to Ukraine in 2021, the most transfers since the equipment program began in 2014, and notified Congress of its intention to transfer Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. The helicopters, originally intended for shipment to Afghanistan before the fall of the government, were in Ukraine for refurbishment when the Taliban took control of Kabul.

The UK also boosted its support for Ukraine this week, sending C-17s loaded with anti-tank weapons to Kiev.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons on Monday that London was supplying Ukraine with “light, anti-armour and defensive weapons systems” and was deploying a small team of British soldiers to train Ukrainians in the use of weapons.

“This support is for short-range, clearly defensive weapon capabilities; they are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia,” Wallace said.

Last week saw an added sense of urgency on both sides of the Atlantic after President Joe Biden predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin would likely authorize an invasion soon. “I guess he’s going to move in. He has to do something,” Biden told reporters during his first press conference of the year.

Baltic states step up efforts to arm Ukraine against possible Russian incursion

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