Latvia delivers Stinger missiles to Ukraine

A delivery of Stinger surface to air missiles from Latvia to Ukraine was successfully made February 23 as part of efforts by allies to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia's unprovoked invasion.

The delivery was confirmed by the Latvian Ministry of Defense, which said it would "strengthen the air defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the ability to protect its population from Russian aggression."

The gift to Ukraine was accompanied by Baiba Bļodniece, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Defense. In Ukraine, it was received by the Latvian Ambassador to Ukraine Ilgvars Kļava and the Latvian Defense Attaché, Colonel Aleksandrs Holmanovs, for handover to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"Latvia supports Ukraine's and Ukrainians' efforts to protect their country, so we have sent a gift - the Stinger missile system, so that, if necessary, the Ukrainian armed forces can protect their citizens, schools, hospitals and kindergartens," said Bļodniece.

In January the Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks announced that in response to Russia's aggressive actions, Latvia would send the Stinger air defense missile system, individual equipment and dry rations to Ukraine. In a closed session on February 15, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the donation of the Stinger air defense system to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Lithuania has already sent Stingers to Ukraine, while Estonia has sent Javelin anti-tank missiles.

As previously reported by LSM, in 2017 Latvia bought Stingers from Denmark and before that in 2015 it agreed to buy Stingers from the U.S. The Stinger is a highly personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM), which can be adapted to fire from infantry units, ground vehicles or helicopters and entered into service in the U.S. in 1981.

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