Estonia is sending over two thousand Soviet-era Makarov semi-automatic pistols (Makarov PM) to the Ukrainian Army, at Ukraine's request. The firearms are coming from the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF).
The shipment of side arms, 2,400 of them, was dispatched Tuesday, the Ministry of Defense says, and is aimed at boosting Ukraine's independent defense capabilities.
Defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa) says that Estonia firmly and steadfastly supports Ukraine, whose sovereignty and territorial integrity must be restored following the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the ongoing insurgency war in eastern Ukraine, dating back to that year.
"Russia's continuing aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is unacceptable and has a broader impact on the security of Europe as a whole," Luik said, according to a ministry press release.
"With this shipment, we are supporting an ally who has been at war for six years," he added.
Maj. Risto Pärtel, EDF Chief of Ordnance, said the weapons could be spared after Estonia had switched over to the standard NATO caliber.
The Makarov PM is compact, reliable and easy to use, and will definitely add an important component to Ukraine's arsenal, Maj. Pärtel went on.
The shipment will cost close on €7,000, with costs borne by Estonia, the defense ministry says.
Luik added that Estonia is also providing support and know-how to Ukraine in special forces training, combat medicine and cyber defense.
Ukraine is pressing on with important reforms despite being in a complicated situation, Luik said.
The Makarov PM has been in service since 1951 and was the Soviet Union's standard military and police side arm. It uses a 9×18mm cartridge. The nearest NATO equivalent would be 1 mm longer, at 9x19 mm.
Editor: Andrew Whyte