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26 Oct, 2022 14:08

NATO country’s top general warns about further aid to Ukraine

Lithuania’s Valdemaras Rupsys is opposed to the handover of the nation’s howitzers and air defense systems to Kiev, local media reported
NATO country’s top general warns about further aid to Ukraine

Lithuania should not arm Ukraine with heavy weaponry at the expense of its own defense capabilities, the Baltic state’s top commander, Lieutenant General Valdemaras Rupsys has insisted.

He was speaking to journalists at a military proving ground near the town of Pabrade on Wednesday.

Reports claim he was talking about German-made PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and US/Norway-made NASAMS air defense systems in particular.

I need to have tools. We can’t perform the task without the capacities, but these capacities that we have, have now reached a point where we can't off-load anymore,” Rupsys is quoted as saying.

He also added that he would make the respective proposal to the country’s leadership, and call on the government to search for “other means of support” for Ukrain, as reported by the 15min.lt and delfi.lt media outlets.

Rupsys did, however, acknowledge that Vilnius could supply heavy weaponry, provided it quickly replenished its own stocks.

He cited the Baltic nation’s “obligations to NATO,” explaining that Lithuania has to “have… field artillery, mobile units with firepower and air defense.

Authorities in Vilnius are considering handing over self-propelled howitzers and NASAMS units after receiving a request from Kiev.

Critics, however, have warned the move would undermine Lithuania’s own newly-acquired defense capabilities.

Earlier this month, President Gitanas Nauseda said that a decision would be made at an upcoming meeting of Lithuania’s National Defense Council, without specifying the date.

Lithuania, like many other EU and NATO member states, has been supplying weapons to Ukraine since the start of the Russian offensive.

The Baltic state has provided Ukraine with armored personnel carriers, mine clearance SUVs as well as air defense systems, anti-tank weapons, and mortars.

In August, Lithuania’s Deputy Defense Minister Margiris Abukevicius said the country could further ramp up its weapons shipments to Kiev if NATO agreed to refill its depleted stocks.