Norway has gone along with pleas from the Ukrainian government to send more weapons to help fend off Russia’s latest attacks. This time Norway has sent around 100 of its Mistral surface-to-air missiles, and they’ve already arrived for use during Russia’s current major offensive.
“The conflict in Ukraine can be lengthy, and the country depends on international support to stand up against Russian aggression,” Norway’s new Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram stated in an announcement Wednesday morning about Norway new weapons contribution. “Therefore the government has decided to donate Mistral missile systems to Ukraine.”
Gram called it an “effective weapon” that’s been used by the Norwegian Navy and will be “of great use for Ukraine.” It’s being phased out of Norway’s own defense systems, “but it’s still a modern and effective weapon” that can help Ukraine, Gram said, adding that other countries have also donated similar weapon systems.
Gram stressed that since Norway was planning to replace its Mistral missiles and missile launchers, the weapons that already have been shipped off to Ukraine won’t have any consequences on Norway’s own national defense operative ability. Norway has mostly used them to for mine-clearing and on its Navy corvettes.
There’s been widespread support in Norway to send more weapons to Ukraine, and that was made clear again on Wednesday. “The government has our full support, also for heavier defense weapons,” said Ine Eriksen Søreide of the Conservatives, a former defense- and foreign minister who now leads the Parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.
Søreide told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that her party had already encouraged the government to send more surface-to-air defense missiles to Ukraine “and it had to happen quickly. So we are very satisfied that a decision was made and that the weapons are already in Ukraine.”
Members of Parliament from the Liberal- and Greens parties also supported the weapons shipments to Ukraine, with MP Ola Elvestuen of the Liberals saying “it’s about time” the Norwegian government also “makes available some of our most modern weapons, like NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems) to Ukraine.”
Norway has earlier sent around 4,000 anti-tank missiles and various types of protective gear for Ukrainian soldiers despite some initial objections. Even the Socialist Left Party (SV), which formerly opposed Norway’s membership in NATO, has backed weapons shipments, making it easier for the government to gain a left-center majority without needing support from any of the opposition parties in Parliament.