The 90 tones shipment is part of the additional $200 million of “lethal aid” approved by President Biden in late December and includes ammunition for Ukraine’s front-line defenders, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv tweeted. Overall, the U.S. has provided $650 million in defense equipment and services to Ukraine in the past year — the most it has ever given that country, according to the State Department.
The U.S. State Department has cleared Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US-made Stinger man-portable air defense system, Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and other weapons to Ukraine; three sources familiar with the decision said, as President Joe Biden predicted Russia would move on Ukraine.
Under export control regulations, countries must obtain approval from the State Department before transferring any weapons they received approval from the United States to third parties.
The third-party transfer agreements will allow Estonia to transfer Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, while Lithuania will be permitted to send Stinger missiles, said one of the sources.
The State Department spokesperson said the Biden administration in December approved $200 million in additional defensive security assistance to Ukraine, along with $60 billion in lethal and non-lethal equipment from existing U.S. military stocks.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed that the U.S. government had approved third-party transfers allowing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Britain to provide US-made equipment from their inventories to Ukraine but gave some details on which weapons would be sent.
“The United States and its allies and partners are standing together to expedite security assistance to Ukraine. We are in close touch with our Ukrainian partners and our NATO Allies and are creatively utilizing all available security cooperation tools to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression,” the U.S. spokesperson said.
News about the approved weapons transfers emerged late on Wednesday after Biden told a news conference that Russia would pay dearly if it invaded Ukraine.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied planning to invade Ukraine, but the Kremlin has massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, a buildup the West says is preparation for a war to prevent Ukraine from ever joining the NATO Western security alliance.
The situation has triggered grave concerns in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and other NATO allies, as well as among U.S. lawmakers. This week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators promised solidarity and weapons on a visit to Kyiv.
In a separate development, Estonia is seeking Germany’s approval to send Soviet-made howitzers, which once belonged to East Germany, to Ukraine. Estonia acquired the howitzers from non-NATO member Finland, which in turn had bought them from Germany’s military surplus supply in the 1990s.
The German government said Friday it was considering Estonia’s request to pass the howitzers on to Ukraine but gave no timeline for a decision. Berlin said it planned to coordinate the issue with Finland, which has received a similar approval request from Estonia.
The U.K. sent the next-generation light anti-armour weapon (NLAW), which the U.K. and Sweden developed to meet their requirements for just a shoulder-fired anti-tank missile.
NLAW (Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon) eliminates even the most advanced tanks. It is best-in-class for dismounted light forces that operate in all environments, including built-up areas.
The Nordic Defense Cooperation group combined Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden issued a statement calling on Russia to de-escalate and stating that the nations support “Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and its right to decide its own foreign and security policy, free from outside interference.”
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