Estonia ups Ukraine military aid to over 1% of GDP

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TALLINN: Estonia on Thursday said it would increase its military support to war-torn Ukraine to more than one per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), arguing that arms assistance at “greater scale and speed” was essential.
The considerable pledge from the tiny Baltic state came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy heaped pressure on Western allies to contribute more heavy weapons to fight Russia.
Estonia’s government said it would provide Ukraine with its “largest military aid package to date, which includes remote fire and anti-tank weapons as well as ammunition worth a total of 113 million euros ($122 million).”
“Military assistance to Ukraine will increase to 370 million euros, or slightly more than 1% of Estonia’s gross domestic product,” it added in a statement.
The ex-Soviet country of only 1.3 million people has thrown its staunch support behind Ukraine since Russia invaded in February of last year.
According to a report last month from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Estonia had provided the most government support in GDP terms of any country in the world.
Factoring in not just military support, but also humanitarian and financial aid, the institute said Estonia’s contribution had already been at 1.1% of GDP in late November.
That overall percentage will now likely rise with Tallinn’s latest military aid package, support the EU member’s premier said was pivotal.
“We all want the war to end, but Russia has sent a clear signal that it is planning to continue its war of aggression,” Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, quoted in the press statement.
“Therefore, the free world must continue to provide arms assistance to Ukraine, and do so at much greater scale and speed,” she added.
Estonia is due to host multi-national talks at its Tapa military base later Thursday with fellow international donors, including Britain, which over the weekend became the first Western nation to pledge heavy tanks.
That event will be followed Friday by a larger meeting of around 50 countries convened by the United States at the US-run Ramstein military base in Germany to discuss military aid to Ukraine.



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