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Baltic states step up in arming Ukraine against potential Russian incursion

The upcoming shipments of Stingers will give the Ukrainian army the flexibility to shoot down helicopters with accuracy.

The approaching shipments have been first reported by POLITICO this week when the State Division quietly signed off on the transfers of the U.S.-made Stinger and Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

“Let’s face it — the conflict in Ukraine is ongoing and you will need to assist Ukraine in each method we will in order that they will resist the aggressor,” Estonian Protection Minister Kalle Laanet mentioned in a press release.

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U.S. export management rules required the three allies to acquire approval from the State Division earlier than passing alongside the weapons, approval for which got here this week.

The U.S. has despatched Javelin missiles to Ukraine in the previous, and a brand new cargo, a part of a $200 army help bundle accredited by the White Home, ought to start arriving in the approaching days, in accordance with State Division and Pentagon officers.

The Stingers by themselves should not essentially a game-changing expertise and have restricted effectiveness against high-flying drones or fighter jets, which Russia demonstrated in Syria is its most well-liked method of hitting targets from a secure distance.

“From the Ukrainian viewpoint, any new functionality is best than no new functionality,” mentioned Dmitry Gorenburg, a senior analysis scientist on the Middle for Naval Evaluation who research Russian army capabilities. “It does assist if issues do go badly and Ukraine ends up in a state of affairs the place they’re making an attempt to interact in a guerrilla warfare operation — there they could possibly be fairly helpful.”

The Biden administration despatched about $650 million price of army tools to Ukraine in 2021, essentially the most transfers because the equipping program started in 2014, and has notified Congress of its intent to switch Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to Ukraine, White Home pres secretary Jen Psaki advised reporters Friday. The helicopters, initially meant for cargo to Afghanistan earlier than the federal government collapsed, have been in Ukraine for refit when the Taliban took over Kabul.

The U.Ok. additionally stepped up its assist for Ukraine this week, sending C-17s stuffed with anti-tank weaponry to Kyiv.

British Protection Secretary Ben Wallace advised the Home of Commons on Monday that London is offering Ukraine “gentle, anti-armour, defensive weapon programs,” and is deploying a small workforce of British troopers to coach the Ukrainians the way to use the weapons.

“This assist is for short-range, and clearly defensive weapons capabilities; they aren’t strategic weapons and pose no menace to Russia,” Wallace mentioned.

The previous week has seen an added sense of urgency on each side of the Atlantic after President Joe Biden predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin would probably authorize an invasion quickly. “My guess is he’ll transfer in. He has to do one thing,” Biden advised reporters at his first information convention of the 12 months.

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