Minister: US weapons supply to Ukraine approval proves Estonia's commitment
Defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) has expressed his satisfaction that the United States has given the go-ahead for the supply of anti-tank missile systems from Estonia and to Ukraine, as that country faces a large-scale build-up of Russian Federation forces on its borders.
Similar approval requested from NATO and EU member state Germany has been denied.
Laanet was joined by his Latvian and Lithuanian opposite numbers in a statement which also made official the announcement that the weaponry could be sent, two days ago.
Laanet said Friday that: "Today we have all the necessary approvals from U.S. to send the weapons [to Ukraine]."
"With this we show that we support Ukraine not only with words, but also with deeds. The allies are united, but there is always a need for those who show initiative, Estonia is definitely one of those countries," Laanet continued, according to a ministry press release.
Laanet also noted Ukraine's status as in effect taking the hit for the rest of western Europe.
"Today Ukraine is at the forefront of separating Europe from the military conflict with Russia. Let´s face it, the war in Ukraine is ongoing and it is important to support Ukraine in every way we can, so that they can resist the aggressor," he continued.
Laanet joined his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts, Artis Pabriks and Arvydas Anušauskas, in a statement formalizing the provision of Javelin anti-tank missiles (from Estonia) and Stinger anti-aircraft systems (from Latvia and Lithuania) to Ukraine.
Previously, Estonia's major armaments donation to Ukraine had been a consignment of dated, Soviet-era Makarov pistols.
Germany has rejected a request to provide 122mm howitzers, used first by the German military and then in Finnish service before being taken on by the Estonian Defense Forces, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website Friday.
Germany is also the lead nation in the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup in Lithuania. Its air force has recently held the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission role at Ämari air base in Estonia.
Approval is required from countries of origin of armaments before they can be sent from the original recipient nations, when sovereign states supply weapons to each other.
The full text of the statement from ministers Laanet, Pabriks and Anušauskas is as follows:
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand united in our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in face of continued Russian aggression. The Baltic States will continue supporting Ukraine not only in diplomatic and political ways, but also in strengthening Ukraine's ability to defend itself.
In light of Russia's increase in military pressure in and around Ukraine, the Baltic States have decided to answer Ukrainian needs and to provide additional defense related assistance. This aid will further enhance Ukraine's capability to defend its territory and population in case of a possible Russian aggression.
Estonia will provide Javelin anti-armor missiles, while Latvia and Lithuania will provide Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and adjacent equipment to bolster Ukraine's defensive military capabilities. This defense related assistance follows the approval of the United States government on the third party transfer to provide U.S.-made equipment to Ukraine.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and their Allies are working together expeditiously to hand over the security assistance to Ukraine.
We sincerely hope that Ukraine will face no need to use this equipment and call on Russian Federation to seize its aggressive and irresponsible behavior.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte