TALLINN - Estonia and the United States have reached an agreement in principle that the latter will contribute to Estonia's security with additional rotating military units and capabilities, said Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, who met with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin as part of his three-day visit to the United States.
"The specific weapons systems, capabilities and units to be stationed in Estonia by way of regular rotation will be determined in the near future," Pevkur said.
"I thanked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for the United States' leading role in supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom. As allies we stand together united today and contribute as much as we can so that in the future we don't have to look back and think we should've done more," he added.
The Estonian government has already allocated additional funding towards strengthening its national defense three times this year, increasing its defense spending to 3 percent of GDP, and the United States, too, has boosted its support to strengthening NATO's eastern flank.
"Over the next couple of years, we are going to invest the 140.5 million dollars received this year from the United States by way of security aid in developing our long-distance indirect fire capability by acquiring the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. We've received confirmation from the management of HIMARS manufacturer Lockheed Martin that Estonia's order is well on schedule," the defense minister added.
The procurement of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers is an important leap forward for Estonia in terms of developing its indirect fire capability, and the usefulness of the HIMARS launchers has been demonstrated in Ukraine.
"Lockheed Martin is a longtime reliable defense industry partner for Estonia. Their Javelin anti-tank missile system has been the cornerstone of our anti-tank capability for years and it has also proven itself in the war in Ukraine," Pevkur said.
As part of the visit, Pevkur attended a round table discussion at the German Marshall Fund focusing on the war in Ukraine, supporting Ukraine and strengthening the eastern flank. The defense minister and his delegation also took part in a round table on with Heritage Foundation experts on security and Europe. On Wednesday, Pevkur is to give a talk on cyber security at the National Defense University.