TALLINN - The visit by United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to Estonia on Thursday highlights the strong defense partnership between the United States and Estonia, according to the US embassy in Tallinn.
Austin arrived to Estonia on Thursday to meet with Estonian leaders, including Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur, spokespeople for the US embassy said.
During his meetings in Tallinn, Austin reaffirmed the strong security partnership between the United States and Estonia and emphasized a shared resolve in the face of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine.
"The United States remains steadfastly committed to the freedom and sovereignty of our Baltic allies, and we stand united with you to deter and defend against any threat to our shared security," Austin said during his remarks at the Ministry of Defense. The US secretary of defense also thanked Estonia for its strong support for Ukraine, calling Estonia's leadership "a shining example to all countries."
US Ambassador Designate to Estonia George P. Kent warmly welcomed Austin to Estonia.
"Secretary Austin's visit clearly demonstrates the US commitment to Estonia. Estonia is a valued partner and trusted NATO ally, and our security partnership has never been stronger," Kent said.
During his visit to Tallinn, Austin also met with US military servicemembers currently deployed to Estonia and servicemembers from the Estonian defense forces to emphasize the importance of their work contributing to allied readiness and combat effectiveness and advancing the US-Estonia defense partnership.
Austin was joined on his visit by US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Wallander, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Laura Cooper, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Spencer Boyer.