Latvia blows billions to arm for “Russian aggression”

Riga, Latvia. The Latvian Ministry of Defense has announced a massive purchase of used military weaponry from Austria in a NATO led drive to prepare against “Russian aggression.”

Latvia will purchase second-hand, 120mm mortars from Austria. This was reported by the local news agency LETA with reference to the Minister of Defense of the Republic Raimonds Bergmanis, who explains it is part of preparing for war with Russia in the future.

“The number of mortars to be purchased was not specified by the Ministry of Defense, however it was noted that their delivery is provided for by a bilateral agreement between the Latvian Defense Ministry and the Austrian Ministry of Defense and Sports for the supply of self-propelled howitzers,” the agency said. Mortars of this caliber are currently in service in Latvia.

This week, an agreement was signed between Latvia and Austria for the delivery of 47 second-hand, M109A5O self-propelled howitzers. From 2003 to 2007 the acquired howitzers were modernized, and after that they were mothballed.

The cost of acquiring one unit of equipment depending on the modification was from €60,000 to €140,000. The Latvian military is currently training in Austria to use the equipment and the first howitzers will be delivered to Riga later this year.

Latvia also signed an agreement on the purchase of 123 second-hand armored personnel carriers from the British Army. The contract involves the delivery of 1980s-manufactured reconnaissance vehicles such as the Scimitar and Spartan armored personnel carriers, Sultan command-and-control vehicles, Samson armored recovery vehicles and Samaritan ambulances.

Initially, it was reported that the purchase would amount to about €45 million but the Defense Ministry later announced that the equipment would cost the country €249.5 million including the overhaul and modernization of the purchased vehicles.

According to the terms of the agreement, the taxpayers of the European Union will “share” in the “voluntary contributions” to arm the Latvians.


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