Estonia sends pistols to Ukraine for fight against pro-Russian rebels

Guns, guns (file photo)

NATO and EU member state Estonia shipped 2,400 Makarov pistols to the Ukrainian military for the fight against pro-Russian rebel groups in eastern Ukraine, Estonia’s Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday.

“Russia’s continuing aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is unacceptable and has a broader impact on the security of Europe as a whole,” Estonian Defence Minister Juri Luik said in a statement.

About 13,000 people have been killed in fighting between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebel groups in eastern Ukraine since the conflict erupted six years ago in response to Kiev ousting its pro-Russian president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly represented the rebels at international peace talks.

Ukraine and EU member states, including Estonia, have accused Russia of direct involvement in the conflict.

However, Russia denied this.

“With this shipment we are supporting our ally who has been at war for six years,” Luik said.

The statement added that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be restored.

The Soviet-designed Makarov semi-automatic pistol is a standard handgun in militaries and police forces throughout the former Soviet Union.

“The Makarov is compact, reliable and easy to use, and will definitely add an important component to the armaments of the Ukrainians,’’ the Estonian military’s chief of ordnance, Risto Partel, said in the statement. (dpa/NAN)