European governments offer weapons to Ukrainian ground forces
Several European governments (most but not all of them NATO members) are stepping up resupply efforts to help Ukraine in its resistance against the Russian invasion.
The Greek government announced on 27 February that it will send shipments of portable rocket launchers, ammunition and Kalashnikov rifles via Poland in two C-130s after Russian shelling killed ten Greek nationals in Ukraine.
The Dutch government informed parliament on 26 February that 200 FIM-92 Stinger missiles and other ‘defence materiel’ such as 50 recoilless rifles will be shipped to Ukraine. A Malaysian Airlines B-777-200ER with 193 Dutch citizens was shot down by Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine in 2014.
Spain is not sending weaponry but 20t of humanitarian aid, while Denmark is donating up to 2,700 anti-tank weapons and Belgium is sending 5,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank missile launchers.
Most significant of all was the new position adopted by Germany. Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on 27 February that 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 FIM-92s will be transferred to Ukraine from surplus stock, as part of a wider remilitarisation policy; after years of keeping defence spending low, Germany will spend more than 2% of its annual GDP on defence for the foreseeable future.
Also significant is that the government of non-NATO member Sweden (recently threatened by Putin should it decide to join the alliance) dropped its age-old principle of neutrality and decided on 27 February to ship 5,000 AT4 disposable shoulder-launched weapon systems to Ukraine.
Neighbouring Norway announced a NOK2 billion ($230 million) humanitarian assistance package plus helmets and bulletproof vests.
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