Lithuania’s prime minister on Thursday said the Baltic nation would be delivering Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine in the coming days, marking a significant escalation in NATO’s arming of Ukraine.
“We are increasing the number of military instructors in the country and providing Ukraine with additional weapons and equipment … Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from Lithuania will reach Ukraine in the coming days,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said during a visit to Kyiv.
Until now, the deadliest weapons given to Ukraine by the US and its allies have been Javelin anti-tank missiles, armed patrol boats, and small arms. In January, the US State Department approved the transfer of US-made Stinger missiles from Lithuania to Ukraine.
Stingers are portable anti-aircraft missiles that the US famously gave to the Afghan Mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union in the 1980s. US media reports have said that the Biden administration is considering backing an insurgency in Ukraine, signaling that the US wants to draw Russia into a similar quagmire.
But Ukraine is much different from Afghanistan, and Russia has repeatedly denied it’s planning an invasion. If Russia decides to take the breakaway Republics in the eastern Donbas region, there would likely be no insurgency since the separatists have previously asked to join the Russian Federation.