Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks has announced that the country will provide several high-powered military weapons to Ukraine amid growing threats from Russian armed forces.
Pabriks explained that the decision to supply the Ukrainian military with armaments was a way to give back to the European nation, which continues to help reduce tensions on Latvia’s borders.
“We ask our allies to do the same, because Ukraine has the right and needs the means to defend itself. Ukraine reduces tension on our borders, our region, in other words, Ukraine is fighting our war,” the minister said, as quoted by La Prensa Latina.
Although the specific content of the military aid is yet to be decided with Ukrainian defense officials, the Latvian military has reserves of small arms and ammunition, anti-tank weapons, portable air defense systems, and a variety of combat vehicles.
In addition to military weapons, Latvia has reportedly provided military training to Ukrainian forces and rehabilitated Ukrainian soldiers injured in the fighting with Russian separatists.
Earlier this month, the Estonian Defense Ministry also stated that it is considering supplying the Ukrainian military with Javelin anti-tank missiles and 122-millimeter howitzers amid heightened tensions with Russia.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Latvia, Oleksandr Mischenko, said that his country is worried about the increased Russian military presence near its border.
He said that the heightened activities of Russian troops in the area show “readiness” to attack the Ukrainian armed forces — a claim supported by US intelligence findings that estimate Russia could start a military offensive in Ukraine “in a matter of months.”
A top Ukrainian defense official stated that a Russian invasion would overwhelm the nation.
“Unfortunately, Ukraine needs to be objective at this stage,” Ukraine’s military intelligence service head Kyrylo O. Budanov told The New York Times. “There are not sufficient military resources for repelling a full-scale attack by Russia if it begins without the support of Western forces.”