Slovenia sending rifles, helmets and ammunition to Ukraine

Ljubljana – Slovenia has sent rifles, ammunition and helmets to Ukraine, Defence Minister Matej Tonin revealed on Monday. He would not talk about quantities beyond saying that the aid has already been dispatched aboard “several aircraft”.

“It would not be wise to disclose all of these figures,” he told reporters after a meeting with his EU counterparts.

He said Slovenia had sent to Ukraine the Kalashnikov rifles that the Slovenian army had used before receiving the FN F2000 rifles. The Kalashnikov rifles had been set aside as strategic reserve and a part of them are now being sent to Ukraine, Tonin said.

A logistic hub for collecting and dispatching of military aid and equipment to Ukraine will be located in Poland, the minister said, noting that the exact location or details about the dispatching of equipment would not be disclosed for safety reasons.

He believes it is essential “that the aid comes immediately”. “Every day is important. Every day that Ukraine endures raises the chances for peace talks […] and the price of the war for Putin,” he said.

In this phase of the Russian attack, Ukraine needs anti-aircraft and antitank weapons as well as substantial quantities of personal equipment such as rifles, helmets, bulletproof vests etc., Tonin said.

The ministers held a virtual meeting to discuss aid to Ukraine after the European Commission announced the bloc would set aside EUR 450 million to purchase and deliver weapons to Ukraine.

Another EUR 50 million will be spent to help the Ukrainian army with non-lethal equipment such as fuel and medical supplies.

A key development discussed at today’s meeting according to Tonin was Germany’s announcement that it will increase its defence spending to more than 2% of GDP in light of the Russian invasion on Ukraine.

“Germany’s announcement will certainly cause many other countries to follow suit,” said Tonin, assessing the announcement as a “major change” in the common defence, which had been welcomed by many EU defence ministers today.

He reiterated that Slovenia was still among the NATO countries with the lowest defence spending. It ranks 25th in terms of efforts to have 2% of GDP allocated for defence, he said, adding he would continue to strive for the country to fulfil its commitments.