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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Ukraine: European countries to donate more heavy weapons

Caesar artillery being used by Ukrainian troopsGetty Images

More countries have answered President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to send further arms to Ukraine.

Several European nations promised new military aid packages following a meeting on Thursday at Tapa Army Base in Estonia.

The UK said a further 600 Brimstone missiles will be donated to Ukraine as it attempts to repel the Russian army.

The announcement comes ahead of a crunch meeting on Friday involving 50 countries to co-ordinate arms supplies.

Representatives from 11 nations met near Tallinn on Thursday to discuss a range of new packages to help Ukraine recapture territory and fend off any further Russian advances.

Nine countries – the UK, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Czech Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands and Slovakia – promised more support.

The packages announced in a joint statement include:

  • UK – 600 Brimstone missiles
  • Denmark – 19 French-made Caesar self-propelled howitzers
  • Estonia – howitzers, ammunition, support vehicles and anti-tank grenade launchers
  • Latvia – Stinger air-defence systems, two helicopters, and drones
  • Lithuania – anti-aircraft guns and two helicopters
  • Poland – S-60 anti-aircraft guns with 70,000 pieces of ammunition
  • Czech Republic – produce further large calibre ammunition, howitzers and APCs

The Netherlands will announce its package of support on Friday.

Speaking during his visit to Estonia, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In 2023, it is time to turn the momentum that the Ukrainians have achieved in pushing back Russia into gains and… push them back out of Ukraine and to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty, which is their right under international law.”

British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace speaks during a news conference with Baltic defence ministers in Tapa Army Base, Estonia,


President Zelensky reiterated his call for countries to move faster in supplying heavy weapons, including tanks and self-propelled artillery, in a video link address to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“The vaccine against Russian tyranny is available,” he said.

But despite the billions of dollars pledged in new weapons by Western allies, the big question of whether to send heavy tanks and who will do so remains unanswered.

Ukraine is asking for German-made Leopard tanks to be sent to the front line.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is coming under increasing international and domestic pressure to supply them, or at least approve their delivery by third countries.

Poland and Finland have both promised to send their Leopards – but need Germany’s permission, as the manufacturing country, to do so.

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said he was “moderately pessimistic” about Germany giving permission to re-export Leopards to Ukraine.

A German government source has told Reuters it is yet to receive a request from any country to re-export the tanks.

The UK was the first nation to offer tanks to Ukraine when it promised to send 14 British army Challenger 2s.

A meeting of the Ukraine Defence Group, made up of key allies including the US, will convene at Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday to discuss further military support.

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