Laaneots opposes lethal weapons aid to Ukraine

Ants Laaneots (ERR)
4/21/2015 9:20 AM
Category: International

Former head of the Estonian Defense Forces and current Reform Party MP Ants Laaneots said that at this point, he does not advocate supporting Ukraine with lethal weapons.

In a debate on ERR Radio 4, Laaneots said the biggest problem of the Ukrainian army is its poor leadership system.

“Ukrainians are good soldiers but their losses come from bad leadership. I do not support giving Ukraine lethal weapons. The country has a powerful military industry. This has to be restored and invested in. It is politically easier for the West to give funding rather than deadly weapons. Non-lethal military aid, communications equipment, night-vision equipment and radar systems must be given,” Laaneots said.

Anton Gerashchenko, a Ukrainian MP and adviser to the nation's interior ministry, said on the radio program that Ukraine badly needs modern weapons from the West. “Our weapons are at least 30 years old while Russia is handing the eastern Ukraine terrorists tanks which have been produced last year. The situation is unbalanced. Even if we restore the military industry it will take six months to a year to produce a tank, but a quick war is taking place. At the beginning of the hostilities we had 6,000 tanks on the books, but 90 percent of them proved to be scrap metal,” he said.

Gerashchenko said he understands the West's reluctance to send lethal weapons, adding that any such move would result in that nation turning to a great enemy in the eyes of Russia.

Laaneots said modern Western weapons would require a long period of training for Ukraine troops, which would remove the time factor. Gerashchenko said Ukraine must bring its military production in line with NATO standards and disconnect from Russian military systems. “We understand that we can never again have brotherly relations with Russia,” he said.

J.M. Laats

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