Norway Opens to Possibility of Training Ukrainian Soldiers as It Considers More Arms Donations
Norway has already provided arms to Ukraine in several rounds, ranging from anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft missiles to to heavy artillery.
Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram has said it is relevant for Norway to train Ukrainian soldiers in the use of weapons.
Furthermore, he didn't rule out that the training could actually happen on Norwegian soil.
“With [arms deliveries] comes an increased need for training and education. We have already contributed to that. The donation of artillery weapons took place in combination with the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Germany, where Norwegian soldiers also contributed. It may be relevant in the future as well,” Gram told the news agency NTB.
At the same time, Gram confirmed that the Norwegian government is considering further arms deliveries to Ukraine. However, Gram didn't provide details on the type of weapons or military equipment in question.
“We understand that there is a need for further donations. Norway has provided weapons in several rounds, and the previous shipment was heavy artillery,” Gram stressed.
While the Norwegian government doesn't confirm shipments of weapons or materiel to Ukraine in advance for security reasons, it retroactively confirmed the donation of 22 M109 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers, including spare parts and ammunition.
“We are considering further deliveries”, Gram said, adding that the government also contributes financial support via a British fund so that Ukraine can buy weapons itself.
Previously, Norway confirmed it had delivered 2,000 M72 anti-tank weapons and 100 anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, while pledging another NOK 400 million ($43.7 million) to the UK-led arms initiative.
Gram’s statements came after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO is ready to provide both heavy weapons and long-range systems to Ukraine, a decision likely to come at the coming NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June.
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the “comprehensive package” will help Ukraine “transition from Soviet equipment to NATO equipment”.
Since the launch of Russia's special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, in order to protect the inhabitants of the Donbass republics, the Western nations have been breaking their necks to arm Ukraine. The US alone has committed billions of dollars in arms support to Ukraine in a matter of months, whereas allies in Europe and beyond have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars more. Many of the contributors, including those in Scandinavia, have abandoned their long-standing principle of not sending arms to conflict-ridden countries.
Russia has repeatedly warned the US and its allies about the dangers of arming Ukraine, stressing that the weapon cargoes constitute a legitimate target for Russian missiles, and that such assistance merely serves to prolong the conflict, even risking a direct confrontation with NATO.