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Belgium to send more weapons and fuel to Ukraine

Ukrainian Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion in Yavoriv, Ukraine (Free licence)
05:47 28/02/2022

Belgium will send 3,000 additional automatic rifles and 200 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, prime minister Alexander De Croo told Flemish channel VTM Nieuws on Sunday.

His statement, which he also communicated via Twitter, followed the announcement on Saturday of a shipment of some 2,000 FNC-type automatic rifles, manufactured in Herstal, and 3,800 tons of fuel oil to the Ukrainian army. Three hundred Belgian soldiers will also be deployed next week in Romania as part of Nato's rapid reaction force.

Prime minister De Croo had a meeting on Saturday evening with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "He looked very combative," the prime minister commented. "He says his troops are highly motivated, but he is calling for additional military support to allow his country to defend itself."

Belgium will therefore respond to Ukraine's request. The prime minister mentioned on Sunday the sending of a total of 5,000 automatic rifles and 200 anti-tank weapons. This is standard equipment that should allow the Ukrainian army to better defend itself. The four F-16s currently operating in the Baltic States will also be allocated a wider area of action.

Belgium will deploy 300 troops in Romania as part of Nato efforts to strengthen its eastern flank, De Croo said on Saturday, as Russia pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles for a third day.

"Belgium assumes its responsibility within Nato Rapid Response, of which elements were activated yesterday,” he said on Twitter. “In the current phase, 300 Belgian soldiers will be deployed in Romania."

In further measures, Belgium will close its airspace to Russian planes, the prime minister announced on Twitter on Sunday.

"Our European spaces are open spaces,” he wrote. “They are open to those who connect people to each other not to those who seek to brutally assault them."

Federal mobility minister Georges Gilkinet wrote on Twitter that Europe "must isolate Russia economically, financially, but also in the air."

"We are coordinating with our European colleagues on the subject," he said.

 

Written by Nick Amies