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Ukrainian special forces are getting one of the world’s best sniper rifles thanks to Estonia

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Estonian will be sending sniper rifles and special forces gear along with other equipment to Ukraine.

Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said, “[…] it is clear that there is no time left to lose in supporting Ukraine.”

Although Estonia is focusing on a joint European Union procurement of a million artillery shells to Ukraine, “smaller, precisely targeted aid packages must also be continued” he added.

Estonia uses the Finnish-made Sako TRG 42 sniper rifle, which is considered one of the best sniper systems in the world. 

Estonia has so far donated aid worth $427 million to Ukraine. This has included Javelin anti-tank missiles, howitzers, anti-tank mines, Carl Gustav anti-tank grenade launchers, mortars, vehicles, communication equipment, medical supplies, personal protective equipment (helmets, etc.), and dry food packages. In cooperation with Germany, Estonia has also donated two field hospitals and medical supplies and is donating a third field hospital.

Related: Reaper Madness: What really happened between Russian fighters and a US drone over the Black Sea

After Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukrainian special forces underwent massive changes: they modernized, started being trained by Western special forces, and began operating similarly to their NATO counterparts.

This rapid modernization was successful and Ukraine’s special operations forces were very effective in the first year of the war with Russia to the point where U.S. special operation forces are learning from them how to operate in a major conflict environment in which logistics are harder.

Ukrainian forces have faced shortages in arms, ammunition, and equipment since the first days of the war; this makes any Western support very valuable. However, getting that equipment to Ukraine is hard with U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven Edwards, the commander of Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) said that supplying Ukraine remotely has been “very very difficult.”

Feature Image: Ukrainian special operations forces during a training exercise in 2016. (Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)

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Steve Balestrieri