Latvia will send to Ukraine EUR 10 million worth of drones this year - Silina

  • 2024-04-04
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Latvian government plans to send drones to Ukraine this year worth a total of EUR 10 million, Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) told members of the press after a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Riga today.

Silina said that the government is currently working on the production of drones in Latvia in cooperation with Ukraine and Latvian companies, so that they can be sent to Ukraine. Latvia will soon send the first drones to Ukraine, worth one million euros. Silina stressed that the drones have already been tested by their Ukrainian counterparts and found to be good for combat, and that their quality meets Ukrainian requirements.

The two sides also discussed the need for military instructors. Silina said that Latvia, for its part, could send "one or more people" to coordinate the drone issue on the Ukrainian side. The Prime Minister explained that drones are constantly being adapted, so "such a person on the ground could adapt technical solutions more quickly and flexibly".

"We will have to find someone who can, is capable and wants to do it. If we cannot find one in Latvia, we will look for one within the drone coalition," said Silina.

At the same time, the politician added that Latvia will also need an operational coordination group dealing with drone coalition issues. "There will be one in the near future and it will need good management," the prime minister stressed.

Latvia's total support to Ukraine this year will reach EUR 850 million and with the announcement of the April military aid package, total military support will reach EUR 392 million.

In 2024, Latvian government support to Ukraine will exceed EUR 200 million and military aid will amount to around 0.25 percent of Latvia's gross domestic product, or around EUR 112 million. "Latvia is determined to maintain this annual support in 2025 and 2026," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said that a new package of military aid for Ukraine is expected in April. It is planned to donate material and technical resources, including armaments and ammunition, worth EUR 22.2 million from the reserves of the National Armed Forces. This aid package will include mainly ammunition, explosives and weapons, as well as transport and support equipment. In the framework of the joint procurement of artillery ammunition, Latvia, under the leadership of the Czech Republic, will provide funding for the purchase of 155 millimeter rounds for a total amount of around EUR 10 million.

During their meeting, the two prime ministers also discussed the reconstruction of Ukraine. Latvia has provided funding for the reconstruction of Ukraine in the Chernihiv region. This money will be used not only for development cooperation projects, but also to support Latvian companies involved in the reconstruction of Ukraine in the Chernihiv region.

The meeting also discussed preparations for the 10th meeting of the Latvia-Ukraine Intergovernmental Committee to be held in May this year in Kyiv. One of the committee's priorities is to promote economic cooperation.

Another issue of great importance for Latvia is to support Ukraine in its integration process with the European Union (EU). "The next step is to agree on a negotiating framework and hold an intergovernmental conference by the end of June," said Silina.

Latvia's focus is also on effective implementation of EU sanctions and avoiding sanctions evasion.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Prime Minister thanked Silina for the "invitation and warm hospitality" and thanked the Latvian people for their unwavering solidarity. The Ukrainian Prime Minister said that Latvia was doing "everything possible and impossible" to support Ukraine, listing the various ways and formats in which Latvia had supported Ukraine so far.

Shmyhal confirmed that the drones produced in Latvia are of high quality and the Ukrainian Armed Forces are very grateful for these products. Shmyhal expects that during this year both sides will be able to reach a concrete agreement on the joint production of drones.

Asked about the possible erosion of US support in the event of a Donald Trump victory in the upcoming US presidential elections, Shmyhal said that Ukraine would respect the decision of the US public. At the same time, Ukraine looks forward to US support and will continue to work with the US government after the next elections.