During his three-day visit to the US, Estonian Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur met on Tuesday with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin to discuss bilateral defence cooperation, questions related to strengthening NATO’s eastern flank and supporting Ukraine.
“We reached a mutual understanding that the US will contribute towards Estonian security by sending rotating troops and capabilities. Details on what kinds of capabilities and units will be stationed in Estonia during these regular rotations will be clarified in the near future,“ said the Estonian Minister of Defence.
“I also thanked Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin for the leading role the US has taken in supporting Ukraine during their fight for freedom. We will stand united with all our Allies today to make sure that in the future we would not look back and think that we could have done more,” said Pevkur.
In 2022, the Estonian government has approved three supplementary funding packages for strengthening defence, raising the expenditure near 3%, and the US has also increased contributions to strengthening NATO’s eastern flank. “In the coming few years, we will invest the Foreign Military Funding contributions from the US, which in 2022 totalled 140,5 million dollars, into developing long-range fire capabilities – we will procure multiple launch rocket systems HIMARS. We also got confirmation during the visit from their manufacturer Lockheed Martin that the Estonian order is progressing well on schedule,” added Pevkur.
The procurement of the multiple launch rocket systems HIMARS is a significant step forward for Estonian long-range fire capabilities. The efficiency of these systems has now been proven by the Ukrainian experience. “Lockheed Martin is Estonia’s long-term, reliable partner in the defence industry. Their Javelins have been the cornerstone of our anti-tank capabilities for years, and these systems have also proven themselves in battle,” said Pevkur.
During the visit, the Estonian Minister of Defence attended a roundtable discussion on the ongoing war and supporting Ukraine at the German Marshall Fund, as well as a discussion at the Heritage Foundation with experts on security and European affairs. Today, the minister will give a lecture on cyber security at the National Defence University.
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