RIGA - Latvia will send to Ukraine additional Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, helicopters, machine guns with ammunition and drones.
Minister of Defense Inara Murniece (National Alliance) visited Ukraine this week on a working visit, where she met Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in Kyiv. During the meeting, the ministers discussed in detail the effectiveness of the support already provided by Latvia and the planned deliveries of military support to Ukraine in the near future, LETA was informed by the Press Department of the Ministry of Defense.
"During the conversation with the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, I confirmed the unwavering support of the Latvian government and the Latvian people to Ukraine in this terrible war. In the near future, we will send new shipments of military support to Ukraine - Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, helicopters, machine guns with ammunition and unmanned aerial vehicles. Also this year, Latvia will continue training soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces of different levels. The plan is to increase the intensity of training and train at least twice as many Ukrainians as we did in 2022," said Murniece after the meeting.
The defense minister also acknowledged that the whole world admires the courage and selflessness of the Ukrainian armed forces and civilians in the war with Russia. However, to win this battle, the world must not only listen to what Ukraine says, but hear Ukraine. "We - Latvia do not just listen to what the President of Ukraine, the Minister of Defense and the armed forces say. We hear what Ukraine is asking to be able to confront and defeat the aggressor. And we act," emphasized the Minister of Defense of Latvia.
During the visit, Murniece met with representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in various formats, as well as visited the Ukrainian Academy of Land Forces in Lviv.
During the visit, the Minister of Defense also met with the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, in Kyiv. Murniece regularly visited Ukraine for many years while she served as the Speaker of the Saeima. During this time, a close cooperation between the parliaments of Latvia and Ukraine was established, which continues successfully even after the approval of the 14th Saeima.
In order to agree on further allied assistance to Ukraine, the Minister of Defense will participate in a meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany on Friday, January 20.
Before that, Murniece will meet with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak in Poland, while a meeting with Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas and British Defense Minister Ben Wallace is planned in Tallinn.
The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the geopolitical situation and coordinate measures to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.
The Minister of Defense will provide more information about the working visits this week and the decisions made at the meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Ramstein after her return to Latvia - on Monday, January 23, at a press conference at the Ministry of Defense.
As reported, Latvia has been providing comprehensive political, military, financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine from the first day of the war. The support provided so far makes up 0.93 percent of Latvia's GDP, or more than EUR 314 million. Around EUR 300 million of this amount is military support provided by the government, while the rest is donations made by the public.
The military support provided by Latvia includes weapons, individual equipment, dry food rations, ammunition, anti-tank weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, self-propelled howitzers, helicopters, fuel and other goods.
Since the beginning of the war, the Ministry of the Interior has repeatedly provided various practical assistance to Ukrainian services from its reserves as well.