The United States has approved requests from the Baltic countries to ship American-made weapons to Ukraine amid fears of a Russian invasion, a US official said on Thursday (January 20th).
United States “accelerate authorized transfers of equipment of American origin from other allies”, said a State Department official present in Berlin, where the head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, began talks on Ukraine with the Europeans. This official also said:
“European allies have what they need to advance additional security assistance [à] Ukraine in the days and weeks to come”.
The exact quantities and types of weapons have not been specified, but the arsenals of the Baltic countries notably include Javelin anti-tank missiles.
“We have decided to send weapons and other aid [à l’Ukraine] », Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP), according to which this move aims to “dissuade” Russia from any attack. The Minister added:
“History shows us that making concessions to the aggressor eventually leads to a great war. (…) Any country that defends itself must have the opportunity to do so. »
Russian naval maneuvers
His Latvian counterpart, Artis Pabriks, explained on Wednesday that his country would deliver to Ukraine “lethal and non-lethal defense equipment”.
As for Estonia – whose Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, confirmed on Wednesday the “absolute support” from his country to Ukraine – it could provide him with 122 millimeter howitzers (short guns) and Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as a field hospital and assistance against cyberattacks. The howitzers had been sold by Germany to Finland, then bought back, 42 in number, by Estonia. Therefore, Tallinn needs the agreement of these two countries to be able to hand over part of it to Kyiv.
Tens of thousands of Russian troops, as well as tanks and artillery, have been deployed near the Ukrainian border since late last year, particularly worrying the three Baltic countries, located in Russia’s immediate vicinity.
It is in this context that Russia announced, on Thursday, naval exercises: more than 140 warships and 10,000 soldiers will take part, in January and February, in exercises carried out in the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Pacific and Mediterranean. The main objective of these maneuvers is to put into action “naval, air and space forces” and counter the ” threat “ from “seas and oceans”, justified the Russian Minister of Defense.
Since last year, the US administration has approved the shipment of $650 million worth of arms to Ukraine, including $200 million last month.
Kiev urges Westerners to deliver additional defense weapons, at the height of tensions with Moscow, suspected of preparing an invasion. The United Kingdom announced on Monday that it intended to send anti-tank weapons. On the other hand, Germany rejected the idea of delivering arms to Ukraine, believing that this would only aggravate tensions.