Latvia’s Defense Minister promises weapons and aid to Ukraine amidst growing Russian threat

6 January 2022, 05:58 PM

Latvia will send Ukraine military weapons and equipment, Latvian Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks wrote on Facebook after meeting with Ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia Oleksandr Mishchenko.

“Today, during a meeting with the Ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia, I confirmed our support - like Estonia and Lithuania, we announced that we will provide both humanitarian and military assistance, ensuring the supply of weapons and equipment necessary for defense,” Pabriks wrote on Jan. 5.

According to the Latvian defense minister, a shipment of humanitarian aid from Latvia will be sent to Ukraine in January.

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Pabriks invited other allied countries to support Ukraine as well, since "Ukraine is entitled to defend itself, and it needs support to strengthen its defenses.”

The minister told reporters that the content of the humanitarian aid had been agreed upon with the ambassador of Ukraine.

“Ukraine relieves tensions from our own borders to a great extent,” Pabriks said. “(And) from our region. And although Ukraine is not a NATO member, in this sense it is not an ally, but it is considered our ally in exactly what it does. In fact, they protect us.”

At the end of December, Lithuanian Minister of Defense Arvydas Anushauskas, after meeting with colleagues from Latvia and Estonia, said that the Baltic states were are ready to provide support to Ukraine amid the threat of a full-scale invasion by Russia.

Russia has been deploying troops to Ukrainian borders since the end of October. According to Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, as of Dec. 3, the number of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories amounted to over 100,000.

Various media outlets have speculated that Russia may invade with a force of up to 175,000 in early 2022.

U.S. and European officials have expressed concern about the situation, with U.S. President Joe Biden noting that the United States has prepared a set of measures to prevent any such invasion, calling the measures “the most comprehensive set of initiatives to make it very difficult for Putin to do what people fear he might do.”

The European Parliament on Dec. 16 adopted a resolution in which it called for the introduction of tough sanctions in response to a possible invasion by Russia.

On Dec. 17, Russia put forward conditions on "security guarantees" to the United States and NATO, one of which is a ban on Ukraine joining the alliance.

While the Kremlin has denied that it will invade Ukraine, it has also refused to provide any guarantees on the matter.

Talks between the United States and Russia on "security guarantees" will take place through three diplomatic channels: during direct talks between countries’ representatives on Jan. 10, at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Jan. 12, and during a Russia-OSCE meeting, also in January.

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