Rīta Panorāma

Uz Kijivu dosies desmit Rīgas dāvinātie autobusi

Rīta Panorāma

Rīta Panorāma

Intervija ar aizsardzības ministri (NA) Ināru Mūrnieci

Latvia likely to send more 'Stingers' to Ukraine

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Latvia could once again offer Ukraine "Stinger" anti-aircraft missile systems, Defense Minister Ināra Mūrniece (National Alliance) told Latvian Television January 10.

The Minister stated that in the second half of January, a conference on future military assistance to Ukraine will be held at the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany. The list of military support from Latvia is already "in the pocket," said Mūrniece.

"Actually, the Ukrainian front is our line of defense, so we are currently thinking about how to join the large flow of aid to Ukraine and how to support Ukraine, how to respond to the request of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy," said the minister. 

Mūrniece stated that Latvia is considering sending more weapons to Ukraine and training Ukrainian soldiers. 

In connection with sending weapons to Ukraine, Mūrniece noted that Latvia is examining "what we can afford to give". At the same time, taking into account the assistance previously provided by Latvia to Ukraine, Latvia could once again offer Ukraine anti-aircraft "Stinger" missiles.

"When meeting Ukrainian colleagues, they express their deepest gratitude to Latvia for those Stingers which were sent just before the war [was launched by Russia], it was a very correct decision of the Ministry of Defense and also the former minister to do so. We will continue [helping] with Stingers, with even more intensive training of Ukrainian soldiers in Latvia," noted Mūrniece.

The minister said that Ukraine also highly values ​​the unmanned aerial vehicles or drones supplied by Latvia, therefore Latvia could continue their supply as well.

The war in Ukraine has shown that Latvia also needs to think more seriously about strengthening its own defenses in various different ways, Mūrniece admitted.

"The new thing we are currently talking about is the provision of anti-aircraft defense systems. We see that the war in Ukraine has been very merciless and such warfare seemed unthinkable a few years ago, that it could intentionally destroy civilian infrastructure. Therefore, Latvia needs to think much more seriously about the protection of society. Together with our neighboring countries, we are thinking about acquiring anti-aircraft defense systems. Our neighbors have started thinking about it earlier, I believe that this matter should be accelerated in Latvia as well," said the minister.

A day before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, Latvia delivered Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine in order to strengthen the air defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. So far, the military support provided by Latvia includes weapons, individual equipment, dry food rations, ammunition, anti-tank weapons, Stinger missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, self-propelled howitzers,  helicopters, fuel and other goods. Latvia is among the leading donors to Ukraine when the relative size of the economy is taken into account. 

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