Military technology has been sent from Latvia to Ukraine numerous times, but this time it has happened thanks to donors from the public. The message of the “Good News” campaign is that in order to hear from Ukraine the news that all its land is free, military technology produced in Latvia can help.
Within two months, the donated citizens' money has turned into practical assistance. Military equipment manufactured in Latvia — nine quadricycles with combat platforms and four military scooters are starting their way to Ukraine on Wednesday.
Special platforms mounted on quadricycles are produced in Ogresgals. Meanwhile, military scooters are produced in Liepajā. 11 companies have been involved in the “Good News” campaign so far.
Latvia also benefits from the donations, said former National Armed Forces Commander Raimonds Graube.
"We are testing real combat action when we give these systems to the front line and also others that will be in the future. I know about these scooters – Ukrainians already have them, and there is also feedback. Improvements can be made. We need to learn how to defend this country also technically and tactically, not just morally," Graube said.
Even before sending military equipment, Ukrainians also arrived in Latvia to learn how it worked. Entrepreneurs who have sent the equipment in the past have also received recommendations on what and how to improve. It also shows solidarity, which is extremely important at the moment, stressed Ukraine's ambassador to Latvia Olexandr Mishchenko.
“I think the best gift to our president's birthday [Zelenskyy is born on January 25, 1978] is cohesion and unity. It would be the best gift for him. And European solidarity is the worst news for Putin,” said Mischenko.
The head of Ziedot.lv, Rūta Dimanta, said that the people's response and willingness to help Ukraine had not dwindled. Until now, the Latvian people have donated EUR 16.5 million to Ukraine. Eight million euros have been donated directly to military needs.
“We've shipped a lot of military cargo, but most were ordered from abroad, like drones, and night-vision goggles. We look forward to sending FOX Jeeps in the future and looking at those things that are produced here. [..] We also produce on the ground here, we can defend ourselves and we have something to show. It is very important, it is also symbolic in context of the Leopard tanks. We don't need to ask anyone for permission to send our products,” said Dimanta.
Latvia's military support to Ukraine amounts to €370 million for the new shipment.