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US to allocate USD 175 million to Baltic states from defense budget
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    US to allocate USD 175 million to Baltic states from defense budget

    TALLINN, Dec 23 (LETA--BNS) – The United States is to allocate 175 million US dollars from its defense budget to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and, for the first time ever, funds will be allocated for the development of air defense.

    The US is to allocate 125 million US dollars from its 2020 defense budget for the development of military cooperation with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Additionally, for the first time ever, a separate row will be created in the Pentagon's budget for supporting the development of Baltic air defense, the Estonian Ministry of Defense said. The size of the latter sum is 50 million US dollars.

    Estonian Minister of Defense Juri Luik said that strengthening deterrence and defense attitudes in the Baltic states, including in the field of airspace and especially in the field of air defense, is important for NATO as a whole as well as for the United States. "Our ally clearly confirms its commitment to collective defense on Europe's eastern flank," the minister added.

    According to Luik, the support of the United States for the transition of the Baltic states from air policing to air defense is extremely important. "The transition from air policing to air defense requires a common decision from all Allies, but the US' position and practical support are of great importance. We greatly appreciate the US' support for the development of our region's defense," he added.

    In addition, the bill includes a solidarity clause, which confirms the United States' commitment to the Baltic region and assigns the Pentagon to write an analysis of defense assistance.

    Air defense is inherently more multi-layered than air policing, consisting of early warning systems, monitoring capabilities, anti-aircraft weapons systems and personnel capable of carrying out anti-air operations that current air policing does not enable.

    US President Donald Trump signed US National Defense Authorization Act bill granting aid to the Baltic countries last Friday.

    • Published: 23.12.2019 14:48
    • LETA, BNS
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