Former Soviet Republics Back Ukraine

US endorses shipment of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2022 4:15 PM CST
Former Soviet Republics to Arm Ukraine
Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train Saturday in a city park in Kyiv.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) – The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania plan to send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, a move that the US fully endorsed Saturday. As tensions over Russia's intent at the Ukraine border escalate, the defense ministers of the three Baltic states said in a joint statement that they "stand united in our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in face of continued Russian aggression," the AP reports. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in tweets that Washington saluted the three NATO nations and former Soviet republics "for their longstanding support to Ukraine" and endorsed the transfers of the "defensive equipment."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier this week described the West supplying arms to Ukraine as extremely dangerous and said the shipments "do nothing to reduce tensions." Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops near the Russia-Ukraine border, leading to fears of an invasion. The West has rejected Moscow's main demands, and a meeting Friday between Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ended with no breakthrough. Amid the uncertain security situation, the US State Department has been considering a range of options to ensure the safety and security of the US Embassy in Kyiv and its employees by moving to reduce its diplomatic presence there.

The defense ministers of the Baltic states said in their statement that Estonia would provide Javelin anti-tank weapons while Latvia and Lithuania were sending Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other related equipment to bolster Kyiv's defensive military capabilities. It wasn't immediately clear when the weapons and equipment would be sent to Ukraine. "Today, Ukraine is at the forefront of separating Europe from the military conflict with Russia," Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said. "Let's face it, the war in Ukraine is ongoing, and it is important to support Ukraine in every way we can so that they can resist the aggressor."

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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