Estonia has made a principled decision to support Ukraine in its current security situation. The plan is to donate and send missile and artillery systems designed for anti-tank defence, reports the Estonian News Agency and the Finnish media.
The decision marks a policy change and mirrors the degree of concern felt in Estonia over Russia’s intentions. Over the years, after the annexation of Crimea, Estonia has provided Ukraine with lighter weapons and medical equipment and has offered training in Tallinn for Ukrainian personnel.
Last year, Estonia delivered some 2,400 Makarov pistols to Ukraine. However, the situation now demands heavier calibres. The intention is to send 122-millimetre Howitzers and Javelin missiles to the Ukrainian army, Peeter Kuimet, head of the International Cooperation Department at the defence ministry told ERR News in an interview on 30 December.
However, such shipments require permission from the countries of origin, which are the US, Finland and Germany. Javelin missiles originate from the US, while the green light for the Howitzers – towed field artillery – is needed from Finland and Germany. Finland bought Howitzers from Germany before selling them further to Estonia in 2009.
The Estonian request may cause some headaches in Helsinki as Finland has strictly obeyed a principle not to send its own weapons industry to conflict areas. The Finnish defence ministry has confirmed the arrival of the Estonian request and said it will make the final decision after consultations with the foreign ministry. The clearing process in all three countries may take months.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)