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US allows Baltic states to send American-made weapons to Ukraine as Russian tensions grow: report

The United States will permit Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to dispatch American-made weapons to Ukraine amid growing tensions between Moscow, Washington and NATO, according to a new report. 

The three Baltic states, all of whom are members of the Atlantic alliance, will be able to redirect Javelin anti-tank weapons and Stinger air-defense systems to help the Kiev government, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited US officials. 

Additionally, the US plans to give Ukraine five Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters, which were being repaired in the Eastern European country and were originally intended for Afghanistan’s military. Congress has reportedly been notified of the decision. 

“The United States and its allies and partners are standing together to expedite security assistance to Ukraine,” a State Department spokesman told the Journal. 

The UK also announced it would also be supplying Ukraine with military weapons in the face of growing Russian aggression.
Ukrainian Defence ministry press

“We are in close touch with our Ukrainian partners and our NATO Allies on this and are utilizing all available security cooperation tools to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression,” the spokesman added.

The spokesman declined to provide further details on the shipments from Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. 

The decision comes just days after the United Kingdom announced it would also be supplying Ukraine with military weapons, including short-range anti-tank missiles and additional British troops. 

In announcing the move, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace cited “legitimate and real cause for concern” over Russia’s growing forces along the border of Ukraine, where Moscow has amassed roughly 100,000 troops. 

On Thursday, Russia attempted to flip the narrative, accusing Western nations of planning “provocations” against Moscow.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said allegations of a Russian attack on Ukraine are a “cover for staging large-scale provocations of their own, including those of military character.”

US President Joe Biden holds an Infrastructure Implementation Task Force meeting.
Biden said the US would impose “severe” economic sanctions if Russia crosses the Ukrainian border.
EPA

“They may have extremely tragic consequences for the regional and global security,” she said, according to the Associated Press.

Due to the military buildup, many fear Russia will invade Ukraine after weeks pushing the US and NATO to block the country from joining the European alliance. 

On Wednesday, US President Biden appeared to say that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will move forward with military action, and ultimately “prevail.” 

“My guess is he will move in, he has to do something,” Biden said during his first solo press conference of 2022. 

“I think, as usual, he’s going to …,” Biden later said before pausing for several seconds.

“I probably shouldn’t go any further,” he finally said. “I think we will hurt him badly.”

Biden has vowed to implement “severe” economic sanctions if Russia invades. However, he appeared to suggest during the press conference that a “minor incursion” by Moscow would result in a less emphatic punishment. 

“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and what not do, etc.,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force they’ve massed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.”

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during his annual news conference.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Biden for suggesting that a “minor incursion” by Moscow would result in a less emphatic punishment.
REUTERS

“I’ve already shipped over $600 million worth of sophisticated equipment, defensive equipment to the Ukrainians,” Biden added later in his presser. “The cost of going into Ukraine in terms of the physical loss of life for the Russians — and they’ll, they’ll be able to prevail over time, but it’s going to be heavy. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be consequential.”

Thursday morning, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shot back at Biden in a tweet saying, “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”

The White House has since attempted to clarify Biden’s remarks, insisting on severe punishments if Russia moves forward with military action in Ukraine. 

Servicemen of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces attend military drills.
Biden later clarified his “minor incursion” comment, stating that Putin understands that
“Russia will pay a heavy price” for a Ukrainian invasion.
via REUTERS

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin,” the president said at the start of a White House meeting on infrastructure. “He has no misunderstanding. If any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.

“It will be met with [a] severe and coordinated economic response that I’ve discussed in detail with our allies as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin,” Biden added. “But there is no doubt — let there be no doubt at all — that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

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