WASHINGTON - US Democrat Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley have proposed a bill to bolster US cooperation with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in security and economy.
The Senators have proposed a bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Baltic Defense and Deterrence Act, codifying the Baltic Security Initiative (BSI) secured this year and creating a complementary initiative at the US Department of State.
The 2022 federal spending package provided USD 180 million for the BSI which provides robust assistance to and encourages cooperation with the Baltic states to deter Russian aggression and protect US and allied national security interests.
"Not only do I have strong personal ties to the region, but the Baltic countries are essential NATO partners in upholding democratic values abroad,” said Senator Durbin.
“Our bill deters Russia from extending Putin’s war into NATO territory, strengthens our partnerships with the Baltics, and enhances their capabilities as critical allies on NATO’s eastern flank. I remain steadfast in my support for the Baltic States as they work to combat Russian aggression as well as Chinese economic pressure,” he said.
“The three Baltic countries have been model NATO allies, contributing above two percent of GDP on defense, fighting alongside American soldiers in various missions and providing invaluable expertise in cyber defense, strategic communications and energy security. The Baltics have been warning about the nature of the Putin regime for years and were among the first to provide critical lethal military aid to Ukraine. It is past time to close strategic gaps in NATO’s most exposed flank. Ukraine’s experience shows that Vladimir Putin does not respond to warnings or signals, so deterrence requires a robust defensive military capability in place,” said Senator Grassley.