Norway gives Ukraine anti-air missiles

Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt speaks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the North Atlantic Council roundtable of NATO Foreign Ministers at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 7, 2022. – Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on April 7, 2022, called on NATO members to provide Kyiv with all the heavy weaponry it needs to fight Russia’s invading forces. NATO has refused to send troops to intervene in the fighting in non-member Ukraine, but has been sending crucial weaponry including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. (Photo by François WALSCHAERTS / AFP)

OSLO, Norway (AFP) — Norway has given Ukraine around 100 French-made Mistral anti-air missiles, the government said on Wednesday.

The Mistral launchers and missiles, which have already been delivered, had until now been mounted on Norwegian navy vessels, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Built from the end of the 1980s by defence group Matra, which later merged with European missile developer MBDA, the Mistral is a very short-range surface-to-air missile. It can be used on vehicles, ships and helicopters, or be portable.

(File photo) A soldier of the French 3rd Foreign Infantry Regiment, trains with a Sol-Air Mistral battery missile, as part of the mission “Titan”, which aims to protect the facilities of the launch sites of the Ariane, Soyuz and Vega rockets, at the Guiana Space Centre, in Kourou, in French Guiana, on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Jody AMIET / AFP)

In a video speech to the Norwegian parliament at the end of March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had asked Oslo for anti-air missiles, albeit the more modern NASAMS type made by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

“The (Mistral) missile is to be retired from the Norwegian military but it is still a modern and efficient weapon that will be of great use to Ukraine”, Norway Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram said in the statement.

“Other countries have also donated similar weapons systems”, he said.

Since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, Norway has already provided Ukraine with some 4,000 anti-tank weapons and other smaller military equipment.

© Agence France-Presse

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