Baltic nations ready to provide military aid to Ukraine
As Russia continues its ominous military buildup near Ukrainian borders, seemingly poised for a full-scale invasion, the Baltic states are ready to provide military aid to Ukraine, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas said on Dec. 21.
Following a joint meeting with his colleagues from Latvia and Estonia, he said that the assistance would indeed be provided, and may be both military and non-military in form, Lithuania’s LRT online media outlet reported.
The Baltic defense ministers also discussed security issues in the region, as well as cooperation within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Earlier, Anušauskas announced that Lithuania was ready to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons.
Last week, the Baltics, as well as some Central and Eastern European states, called on the European Union to impose new economic sanctions against Russia.
United States Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried said on Dec. 21 that Washington was also ready to provide military equipment “above and beyond” what it has given Kyiv previously.
As of the beginning of December, about 100,000 Russian soldiers were deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories in the Donbas, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov stated in Ukraine’s parliament on Dec. 3.
International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, an operation that could involve up to 200,000 Russian soldiers.
Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation. U.S. President Joe Biden has announced that the White House is working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”
During his talks with Putin on Dec. 7, Biden “made it clear the United States and its allies will respond with decisive economic and other measures in the case of a military escalation,” the White House said.
According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Russia has continued the buildup of its troops after the Biden-Putin talks.
Ambassadors from the Group of 7 countries issued an official statement on Dec. 12, warning the Kremlin that there would be “massive consequences and a severe cost” if Russia carried out further military aggression against Ukraine.
In addition, in a resolution adopted on Dec. 16, the European Parliament called for the imposition of “severe economic and financial sanctions against the Russian government to address immediate threats, rather than waiting for another invasion to take place before taking action.”
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