Latvia to buy Stinger ground-to-air missiles from US

31st July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Latvia said Friday it would buy Stinger ground-to-air missiles from the United States next year, amid concern in the ex-Soviet Baltic state over Russia's sabre-rattling in the region.

"A decision was taken to buy the Stinger missile system," Latvian chief of defence Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube said on public television.

He added that the total cost and number of missiles would be decided after the EU and NATO member agrees next year's budget, which is likely to happen in October.

He said the Stingers would likely be kept at the Adazi military base near capital Riga -- the same base due to host heavy US weaponry starting later this year as part of a reinforcement of Baltic defences announced last month.

Baltic nations have been watching Russia warily since it annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March last year.

Russia has also been accused by the West and Kiev of backing and arming separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Baltic republics were under Soviet rule from the end of World War II to 1991. They now fear Moscow could try to destabilise them to test NATO's commitment to collective defence.

© 2015 AFP

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