Beyond "Defensive" Weapons, Ukraine To Receive Stinger Anti-Aircraft Missiles Within Days

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Feb 10, 2022 - 08:00 PM

Starting weeks ago the US and UK began pledging to ramp up shipments of what they dubbed "defensive" weapons to Ukraine, which is believed to have so far mainly included anti-tank and anti-armor systems and munitions. For example when last month British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced new flights to deliver arms, he told parliament the country would "supply Ukraine with light, anti-armor, defensive weapon systems" and send "a small number of UK personnel" to give local forces training on the weapons.

Baltic NATO allies have also stepped up coordinating weapons deliveries to Ukraine amid Western fears of a Russian invasions - however which Moscow has denied that it has plans for. On Thursday Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte confirmed for the first time that her country will be going beyond mere "defensive" weapons. She said Ukraine will receive Stinger anti-aircraft missiles in the coming days, according to Reuters.

Image: Moscow Times

"We are increasing the number of military instructors in the country and providing Ukraine with additional weapons and equipment," Simonyte said on a visit to Kiev Thursday "Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from Lithuania will reach Ukraine in the coming days. I hope and sincerely wish that Ukraine never has to use them."

The FIM-92 Stinger, a man-portable air-defense system, are most definitely the offensive weapon of choice typically used by US and NATO proxies against low flying enemy aircraft operating below 11,000 feet. The missile tracks aircraft by locking on to its heat signature from the aircraft engine exhaust.

At the start of this week President Putin reportedly complained to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron when the two met in Moscow for some five hours that NATO is continuing to "pump Ukraine with weapons."

"NATO member countries continue to pump up Ukraine with modern types of weapons, allocate significant financial resources for the modernization of the Ukrainian army. They send military specialists and instructors," Putin said at a press conference immediately following the summit with Macron, which was aimed a finding a path toward de-escalation.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday the major joint Russia-Belarus military exercises began, which are set to go for over a week. "Russia kicked off large-scale military exercises in Belarus on its western borders with Poland and Lithuania and along its southern flank near Ukraine, an escalation of the standoff between Moscow and Western powers and a possible precursor to a Russian invasion of a smaller neighbor," The Wall Street Journal reports. 

"The two countries haven’t disclosed the number of troops involved in drills, which started Thursday," the WSJ report notes further. "Russia’s Defense Ministry has said they don’t exceed limits set by a 2011 agreement with Europe, according to which exercises involving more than 9,000 troops require notification."

The US said it expects that some 30,000 Russian troops will be in Belarus for the exercises; however, the Kremlin has stressed this is all pre-planned and the troops will return home upon completion of the drills.