US allows Baltic states to send US-made weapons to Ukraine
The US State Department authorized Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send US-made missiles and other US-made weapons to Ukraine, three sources familiar with the decision said, as President Joe Biden had predicted that Russia would act on Ukraine. Under export control regulations, countries must obtain State Department approval before transferring weapons they have received 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 allowed to send Stinger missiles, one of the sources said. A State Department spokesperson has confirmed that the US government has approved third-party transfers allowing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Britain to supply US-made equipment to Ukraine. from their stockpiles, but gave no details of the weapons that would be sent.
“The United States and its allies and partners are coming together to expedite security assistance to Ukraine. We are in close contact with our Ukrainian partners and our NATO allies and are creatively using every tool of security cooperation available to help Ukraine strengthen its defenses in the face of increasing Russian aggression,” the spokesperson said. News of the approved arms transfers emerged late Wednesday after Biden told a press conference that Russia would pay dearly if it invaded Ukraine.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied plans to invade Ukraine, but the Kremlin has massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, a buildup the West says is preparing a war to prevent the Ukraine to join NATO’s western security alliance. The situation has raised serious concerns in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as other NATO allies, as well as among US lawmakers. A bipartisan group of US senators pledged solidarity and arms this week during a visit to Kyiv.
No comment was immediately available from the State Department on the approvals. One of the sources said the approvals reflected a growing sense of urgency about the crisis after some initial delay from the State Department.
The State Department spokesperson said the Biden administration in December approved $200 million in additional defensive security assistance to Ukraine, as well as $60 billion in lethal and non-lethal equipment from existing US military stocks. US officials were also identifying additional equipment that could be delivered from surplus US military stocks.
“As President Biden told President Putin, if Russia invades Ukraine further, we will provide additional defensive equipment to the Ukrainians,” the spokesperson said. “We are committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to provide Ukraine with the support it needs.”
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