Sending weapons to Ukraine does not create gaps in Latvia's defense system - chief of defense

  • 2024-05-10
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Sending weapons to Ukraine does not create gaps in Latvia's securit and defense system, Chief of Defense Leonids Kalnins said Friday in an interview on TV3 channel. 

Kalnins said that Latvia mainly sends military supplies to Ukraine that do not affect the National Armed Forces' (NAF) combat ability. In general, the military aid shipments have even helped the NAF to upgrade itself by giving up Soviet-era weapons systems and replacing them with NATO weapons.

In Kalnins' words, with its military aid to Ukraine, Latvia has fulfilled a double mission - it has helped the war-ravaged country and started to arm itself more actively with new weapons.

As for the NAF's drone capabilities, Kalnins said that their development started several years before the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The army is actively buying local products, the chief of defense noted. He called on the local industry to be more active in presenting their prototypes to the army. "But we have very high requirements, and don't be offended if many of you do not meet our requirements," Kalnins added.

Commenting media reports that the Patria armored vehicles manufactured in Latvia could not be registered because such a possibility was not provided for in the law, Kalnins said that nothing extraordinary had happened, the problems was timely identified and was being solved, which means that the schedule and volumes of Patria deliveries would not be affected.

As reported, the government decided at a closed-door meeting on April 30 to hand over the National Armed Forces' anti-aircraft guns, unmanned surveillance aerial vehicles, as well as other essential material and technical equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) said on Twitter.

This will help improve both Ukraine's air defense and reconnaissance capabilities.

Latvia allocates 0.25 percent of its gross domestic product annually to provide military support for Ukraine, and Latvia will continue to support Ukraine, said Silina.

As reported, Latvia has so far handed over to Ukraine helicopters, machine guns, drones, self-propelled howitzers and other armaments.