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News and Views on Ukraine Crisis
Dangerous Increase in NATO Arms Shipments to Ukraine and War Spending
NATO reported on February 27 that its “Allies are boosting their political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russia’s full-scale invasion. Thousands of anti-tank weapons, hundreds of air-defence missiles and thousands of small arms and ammunition stocks are being sent to Ukraine. Allies are also providing millions of euros worth of financial assistance and humanitarian aid, including medical supplies to help Ukrainian forces.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 14 agreed to send Ukraine $7.8 million worth of lethal equipment, including handguns, machine guns, carbines and ammunition. Up until that point, Canada says it was sending shipments of non-lethal supplies, such as mine detectors, medical kits and vests.
On February 23, the Prime Minister announced it would increase Canada’s current troop deployment to Latvia of 540 by 460. Canada’s military leads NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia. Along with the troop increase Canada announced it will be deploying an extra frigate, maritime patrol aircraft, a battery of M777 artillery guns with forward observers, and an electronic warfare troop. It was also announced that approximately 3,400 Canadian Armed Forces personnel have been put at NATO’s disposal to deploy to the NATO Response Force should they be ordered to do so.
Subsequently on February 26, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly committed at least $25 million in additional non-lethal military aid. Loans of a total of $620 million have also been made to Ukraine.
Two days later, Canada responded to yet another request of the Ukrainian military for lethal weapons. Minister of Defence Anita Anand announced that Canada would be sending 100 Carl Gustaf anti-tank weapon systems and 2,000 rockets.
Germany and the Netherlands, two European countries that are part of the aggressive NATO alliance, announced arms shipments to Ukraine on February 26.
The German government announced its decision to provide 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from German military stocks to Ukraine as soon as possible. Germany also announced the allocation of an additional 100 billion euros for the German armed forces in the 2022 budget. Additionally, Estonia and the Netherlands received permission from the German government to transfer German-made weapons to Ukraine, whereas previously such permission had been denied.
The Netherlands also announced it will send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, that country’s defence ministry said. The Dutch government will supply 50 Panzerfaust-3 anti-tank weapons and 400 rockets, the ministry said in a letter to parliament. The Netherlands is also jointly considering with Germany sending a Patriot air defence system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia, it said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced on February 26: “Last fall, as the present threat against Ukraine from Russia developed, under authority delegated by the President, I authorized the Department of Defense to provide $60 million in immediate military assistance to Ukraine. In December, as that threat materialized, I authorized a further drawdown worth $200 million. Today, as Ukraine fights with courage and pride against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault, I have authorized, pursuant to a delegation by the President, an unprecedented third Presidential Drawdown of up to $350 million for immediate support to Ukraine’s defense. This brings the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.”
In addition to these amounts, the UK is supplying light anti-armour defensive weapons systems as well as lethal defensive weapons.
France has supplied defensive anti-aircraft and digital weapons as well as fuel.
Sweden, not presently part of NATO, is sending 5,000 anti-tank rockets as well as field rations and body armour.
Belgium on February 26 said it would send 3,000 automatic rifles and 200 anti-tank weapons and 3,800 tonnes of fuel to Ukraine. This is said to be a change of policy, where it previously said it would send military equipment but not combat weapons.
Portugal is giving night-vision goggles, bulletproof vests, helmets, grenades, ammunition and G3 automatic rifles.
Greece is sending “defence equipment” as well as humanitarian aid.
Romania is sending fuel, bulletproof vests, helmets and other military aid worth $3.3 million.
Spain has promised to send 20 tonnes of aid, mostly medical and defensive equipment such as bulletproof vests.
The Czech Republic is sending 4,000 mortars, 30,000 pistols, 7,000 assault rifles, 3,000 machine guns, many sniper rifles and a million bullets.
In related news, on February 27 the European Union announced it will provide over $700 million in arms and other aid to the Ukrainian military, in a move the bloc described as a “watershed moment” in its history. Because the EU’s treaties bar it from using its normal budget to fund operations with military or defence implications it will take the money from an off-budget so-called European Peace Facility financing instrument.
(TML Daily, posted March 2, 2022)