By Autumn Spredemann
After Russia fired shots on Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Volodymyr Zelensky shared a video two days later saying he needs “ammunition, not a ride,” referring to the United States’ offer of asylum to the besieged head of state.
Since then, 15 countries have sent military hardware to Ukraine amid Russia’s further invasion.
The majority of arms and supplies from ally nations are being sent via Ukraine’s 310-mile border with Poland, which has become an important lifeline both for supplies and equipment, and refugees looking to flee the conflict.
Some border nations have chosen not to allow military equipment bound for Ukraine to pass through their territory out of fear of Russian retaliation.
On Feb 28, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said his country won’t allow “deadly weapons” to be transported through Hungary’s territory while reiterating the government doesn’t want to be involved in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Szijjarto cited security concerns for Hungarian citizens as one of the primary factors in the decision.
Despite supply chain and shipping challenges, millions of dollars of ordnance continue to flow into Ukraine from two continents.
On Feb. 26, U.S. President Joe Biden authorized the State Department to send $350 million in weapons to Ukraine. Among the list of hardware on the list are Javelin anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft systems, ammunition, and body armor.
Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war, U.S. Acting Permanent Representative Aud-Frances McKernan said, “The United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.”
McKernan then added, per Biden, neither the United States nor NATO has any desire or intention to engage in a conflict with Russia, clarifying that there is no threat to Moscow from either.
This is the third time Biden has used his presidential drawdown authority to send emergency security assistance, now totaling $1 billion, from U.S. reserves to Ukraine.
“It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The Canadian government approved an additional $25 million in military aid to Ukraine on Feb. 27.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the country would send $7.8 million worth of “lethal equipment” to the European nation during a press conference back on Feb. 14 in anticipation of a Russian attack.
Regarding the initial shipment, Trudeau said, “The intent of this support from Canada and other partners is to deter further Russian aggression.”
Chancellor Olaf Sholz announced on Feb. 26 that Germany would deliver 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to “our friends in Ukraine.”
Scholz said Feb. 24 marked “a watershed in the history of our continent,” asserting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is jeopardizing the long-term security of Europe, which he said can’t be achieved in opposition to Russia.
In a departure from its decades-long neutrality, the Swedish government approved the shipment of 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, and 5,000 pieces of body armor.
“My conclusion is now that our security is best served by us supporting Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russia,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Feb. 28.
She added this is the first time Sweden has sent weapons to a country at war since the Soviet Union attacked Finland in 1939.
On Feb. 26, an army spokesperson said France would send “defensive military equipment” to Ukraine to aid in the resistance effort against Russia.
President Emmanuel Macron said, “It’s not only the Ukrainian people who are bereaved by the war … it’s all the peoples of Europe.”
Back on Jan. 17, Secretary of Defense for the United Kingdom, Ben Wallace, said the UK would provide “self-defense” weapons and training to Ukraine amid the build-up of Russian troops near the border.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament on Feb. 23, “In light of the increasingly threatening behavior from Russia and in line with our previous support, the U.K. will shortly be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine.”
He elaborated that the second military support package included both lethal and non-lethal aid.
Responding to a direct request from Kyiv, the nation opted to send 2,000 machine guns to the Ukrainian army and 3,800 tons of fuel on Feb. 26.
As of Feb. 26, the Dutch government said it’s delivering 50 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons with 400 missiles to Ukraine to help with the resistance effort against Russia. Additionally, 200 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were promised along with helmets, shard vests, and sniper rifles.
Formerly occupied by Russian troops during the Soviet era, the Czech government sent 4,000 artillery shells worth $1.7 million to Ukraine in January. The Czech Ministry of Defense released a statement on Feb. 26 saying it will also ship machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, and pistols, together with ammunition at an estimated value of $8.6 million.
Joining the growing list of countries providing military aid to Ukraine, on Feb. 28 the Italian cabinet pledged to dispatch Stinger missiles, mortars, and Milan or Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons. Among the items included in the defense package are Browning heavy machine guns, MG-type light machine guns, and counter-IED systems.
Upon request from Ukrainian officials, the Portuguese Ministry of Defense announced on Feb. 26 that it will deliver military equipment including vests, night vision goggles, grenades, ammunition, complete portable radios, analog repeaters, and automatic G3 rifles.
The Balkan nation sent “defense equipment” and medical supplies on two C-130 aircraft from Athens on Feb. 27 at the request of Ukrainian authorities.
Another former satellite state of the Soviet Union, Romanian government spokesman Dan Carbunaru said the country would ship “ammunition and military equipment” on Feb 27.
On March. 2, Spanish Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, announced the nation will send defensive equipment to Ukraine.
“In this first shipment that will go aboard two planes, we expect to send 1,370 anti-tank grenade launchers, 700,000 rifles, and machine-gun rounds, and light machine guns,” Robles said.
President Sauli Vainamo Niinisto decided to send an arms support package to Ukraine on Feb. 28. The delivery will include 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 cartridges, 1,500 single-shot anti-tank weapons, and 70,000 combat ration packages.