Latvia urges Western allies to step up military aid for Ukraine

Latvia’s president has urged Western countries to step up military support for Ukraine in order to prepare the war-torn country to respond to a potential new Russian

offensive in February. “We should give all necessary support to Ukraine especially because Russia is preparing in February and March an offensive in Ukraine and Ukraine

should have all necessary weapons and support to resist this offensive,” President Egils Levits told Al Jazeera on Monday on the side of the World Economic Forum.

“Therefore all tanks should be given to Ukraine when possible,” he said. The call comes days before Western defence officials are due to take part in the Ukraine Defense

Contact Group at the United States’ Ramstein Air Base in Germany. At the meeting on Friday, which will be hosted by US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, countries are

expected to discuss Ukraine and related security issues facing NATO allies and partners, read a statement from the transatlantic military alliance. Levis’s remarks come as

the United Kingdom became the first Western country to pledge to send heavy tanks to Ukraine. Poland and Finland have also signalled willingness to provide Kyiv with German-made

tanks, but such a move would require the approval of Berlin. On Sunday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he expected Western countries to boost heavy weapons

deliveries to Ukraine, in what could signal a wider shift for European allies who have so far resisted directly supplying Ukraine with some types of heavy weapons since Russia’s

invasion started in February.