US security aid to Baltics confirms commitment of allies - Estonian foreign minister

  • 2024-03-25
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, who recently started his visit to Washington, D.C., said that the allocation of security aid to the Baltics approved by the US Congress last week proves that the United States is firmly committed to ensuring the security of its allies.

"Estonia understands the importance of defense investments, which is why our spending on defense in the following years will be more than 3 percent of GDP," Tsahkna said. "With US security aid added to our own defense budget, we will be able to strengthen our independent defense capability faster than planned."

The US Congress on Friday passed a government funding legislation, which also includes 228 million US dollars in security aid for the Baltic states. The money will be allocated from the Baltic Security Initiative (BSI), which was created in 2020 with the aim of developing the independent defense capability and interoperability of the Baltic states. In recent years, BSI support from the budget of the US Department of Defense to the Baltic states has been on the rise. The exact amount that will be allocated to Estonia from the 228 million euros allocated to the Baltic states will be revealed this fall.

In addition to the Baltic Security Initiative, the US supports its allies, including Estonia, through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. This year, the US has allocated 47.3 million dollars to Estonia through this support program. The record FMF allocation of 140.5 million dollars in 2022 was mostly used by Estonia for the acquisition of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers.

"US financial security aid to Estonia has significantly contributed to the development of Estonia's defense capability and the building of the necessary infrastructure," Tsahkna said. "By adding the continuous rotating presence of US troops in Estonia to the financial security assistance, we can confidently say that the allies understand the security challenges of our region and are ready to contribute in many ways to ensuring the security of our country and its residents. Estonia values this highly."