Mihkelson stresses importance of allied air defense
Chairman of the Riigikogu’s National Defence Committee, Marko Mihkelson (IRL), stressed in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James on Monday that developing the air defense of NATO's Baltic member states was essential to increase deterrence.
Mihkelson reaffirmed Estonia’s continued commitment to strengthening its defense capability, for which at least 2% of its gross domestic product is set apart. On top of that, additional investments are made to increase its host nation capabilities. Mihkelson stressed that there was a strong political consensus for these measures.
He highlighted the results of NATO's Warsaw summit, according to which at least battalion-size allied units will be deployed to the Baltic states and Poland. “The Warsaw summit demonstrated NATO's unwavering unity when it comes to defending the sovereignty and security of allied countries,” he said.
Mihkelson thanked the United States for its decisive role in improving NATO’s deterrent on its eastern flank.
He said that it was important to ensure long-term patrols of the Baltic states’ air borders and the development of their air defense systems. “This is a part of creating a strong deterrent and will send a clear message that NATO allies are extremely serious about guarding our air borders, for which also the most modern aircraft are used,” he said.
The meeting was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville.