All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.
Baltic states acquire billion dollar air defence system
Estonia and Latvia on Monday struck a joint deal to purchase a German-made medium-range air defence system.
The two Baltic states also signed a letter of intent to participate in Germany’s European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), launched last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This is by far the biggest defence investment in Estonia’s history. It’s something we don’t see every day,” Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters.
“Russia’s barbaric war in Ukraine has shown that air defence is essential to protect the armed forces and critical infrastructure from aerial attack.”
The IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defence system that was sold for one billion dollars is developed by the German arms company Diehl Defence.
At a signing ceremony in Rothenbach, southern Germany, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said he “appreciated” that Estonia and Latvia had joined the ESSI.
19 European countries, including Germany, the UK, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden, have come together to develop a ground-based air defence system under the ESSI project.
The Sky Shield would involve joint purchases of short, medium and long range systems, including US Patriots and the US-Israeli Arrow 3 missiles.
France, Italy and Poland have not signed up to the project, with Paris arguing instead for an air defence system using European equipment.
Moscow tried to destroy a cargo ship in the Black Sea – London
The UK on Monday accused Russian forces of attempting to destroy a Liberian-flagged civilian cargo ship in the port of Odessa, southwest Ukraine, with several missile attacks on 24 August.
The attempt was foiled by Kyiv, however.
The Kalibr-type missiles, fired from a Russian warship at sea, “were successfully shot down by Ukrainian forces,” the British Foreign Office wrote in a statement.
“Despite its failure, this attack is a clear demonstration of Russia’s repeated attempts to strangle the Ukrainian economy and of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s disregard for the lives of civilians and the interests of countries in Africa, Asia and in the Middle East,” it added.
“These attacks show just how desperate [Vladimir Putin] is,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was quoted as saying in the statement.
Russia announced in July it was withdrawing from a landmark deal that lifted a blockade on Ukrainian grain exports over the Black Sea.
Moscow wants Western sanctions on its own exports of agricultural products and fertilisers lifted before it can re-join the deal.
Brokered in 2020 by the UN and Turkey, the Black Sea grain agreement is vital for global food supplies, with Moscow promising in September to deliver free grain to six African states.
According to London, Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure and Ukrainian ports have destroyed “280,000 tonnes” of grain since July, “more than what Russia promised to give to African countries.”
Since this summer, the number of attacks in the Black Sea has increased on both sides. Russia in particular has intensified bombing of Ukraine’s grain exporting infrastructure.
Source: Euro News