Today, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik will be meeting with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Meetings were held yesterday with the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Minister spoke at a Russia-themed discussion at the Brookings Institution think tank. Meetings with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are also planned.
At their meeting, Luik and Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett spoke about the critical role of the air domain and air defence in defending the Baltic region. Luik emphasised that US support for developing Baltic air defence is greatly appreciated, and added that the Baltic Republics are working together closely to find the best solution.
The Minister of Defence invited the United States Air Force to use Estonia’s airspace to carry out various training operations, to practice defence plans and increase interoperability between the United States and the Baltic Republics. Minister of Defence Jüri Luik cited the importance of NATO’s air policing mission during peacetime, but emphasised that it is also necessary to develop a clear plan to switch from air-policing to air defence.
‘We are working closely together with our Baltic and Polish colleagues, in order to ensure better awareness and advance warning for the region', said the Minister of Defence at his meeting and cited the Air Operations Control Centre, which opened at the beginning of the year in Tallinn, which ensures the continuous monitoring and control of airspace.
An important topic discussed with Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy was military training exercises in Europe. ‘The United States led exercise DEFENDER-Europe 2020 is an excellent example of a training exercise during the course of which the deployment of additional forces to Europe is practiced. At the same time, this provides the Baltic Republics with an important opportunity to practice the operation of the regional command structure through NATO Multinational Division North, formed last year together with Latvia and Denmark’, emphasised Luik.
At his conversation at the Brookings Institute think tank, Minister of Defence Luik primarily focused on the threat emanating from Russia, the importance of transatlantic relations, and NATO’s activities in strengthening defence and deterrence in the Baltic region. ‘Russia has been modernising its armed forces for years and practicing a military conflict with NATO during its training exercises’, said Luik. ‘It is therefore important that NATO’s focus is increasingly on military preparedness, capability development and the readiness to support allied forces with reinforcement forces', added the Minister of Defence.
Photos of the meetings
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