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Latvian president: Europe must increase arms production for its own needs, Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek October 20, 2023 3:58 PM 2 min read
Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics meets EU Commissioner Thierry Breton in Riga, Latvia, on Oct. 20, 2023. (Office of the President of Latvia/X)
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Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics urged European countries to increase their defense industry capacities in order to produce enough arms for themselves and for Ukraine, the Latvian news outlet Delfi reported on Oct. 20.

"Whether we like it or not, Europe must arm itself," Rinkevics said on the air of the TV3 channel, adding that mere slogans will not be enough and the EU members must be ready to accept real costs.

Latvia's head of state met with EU Commissioner Thierry Breton on Oct. 20 in Riga to discuss the development of the bloc's defense industry.

Latvian officials and Breton were said to discuss ways to attract investment to the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) – the EU's tool for boosting arms manufacturing among the member states, Delfi reported.

ASAP, approved by the European Parliament in July, finances the increase in the EU ammunition and missile production and is meant to help tackle Ukraine's shortages.

It represents a component of the EU's plan first presented early this year to deliver $2.2 billion worth of artillery rounds to address Ukrainian shortages. The shipments should include both current stocks and newly produced shells.

Ex-Estonian president: If NATO ambiguous about conditions for Ukraine, Russia won’t know what to prevent
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Former Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has been among the most vocal supporters of Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, just four months after her term came to an end. From public…
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