Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania sending US anti-tank, anti-air missiles to Ukraine
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have announced plans to send American weaponry to Ukraine, citing “possible Russian aggression", as the first shipment of the United States' $200 million military package arrived in Kyiv.
"The United States will continue providing such assistance to support Ukraine's Armed Forces in their ongoing effort to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression," the US Embassy said on Saturday.
The delivery followed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Kyiv this week and his Friday talks with with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a bid to lower temperature amid simmering tensions over Ukraine.
But the arrival of the US military aid in Kiev on Saturday put the kibosh on those hopes. In a joint statement on Friday, the three Baltic members of the US-led NATO military alliance also announced their plans to send arms to Ukraine.
"This aid will further enhance Ukraine's capability to defend its territory and population in case of a possible Russian aggression," they said.
On Wednesday, US State Department sources said Washington had granted permission to the trio to send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles as well as other armaments to Ukraine.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, however, ruled out arms deliveries.
"We have to do everything to de-escalate. Currently, arms deliveries would not be helpful in this respect. There is agreement on this in the German government," Lambrecht said in an interview with the Welt am Sonntag published Saturday.
Ukraine, instead, will receive a complete field hospital together with the necessary training in February, all co-financed by Germany for 5.3 million euros, she said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stressed Berlin’s policy of not supplying lethal weapons to conflict zones.
According to Friday's joint statement, Estonia will provide Javelin anti-tank missiles, while Latvia and Lithuania will give Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.
The Lithuanian ministry said the weapons would be delivered "in the nearest future."