Minister: US military presence in Estonia to remain strong
United States' military presence in Estonia is likely to be heightened in the near future, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.
Pevkur made his remarks following a visit in Germany with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, held at the Ramstein Air Force base in Germany Thursday.
Pevkur said: " Defense Secretary Austin confirmed that, in accordance with the agreement made at the NATO Madrid Summit, the US will increase its consistent rotations of units and exercises in Estonia, and other Baltic countries, in the near future."
"This is a strong signal of the continued US presence in the region and helps increase our common deterrence on NATO's eastern flank," Pevkur continued, according to an Estonian defense ministry press release.
The meeting also covered options for increasing western defense industries' output, both to support Ukraine's defense, and to replenish the reserves of the western countries themselves, many of whom have been providing military and other aid to Ukraine.
Pevkur said: "I called on all countries to Estonia's example in prioritizing the increase of their own defense spending, which is actually the fastest and most effective way for the defense industry to actually boost production volumes, via substantial orders."
Estonia's support for Ukraine will continue, through arms and training, the latter to be widened in its scope and stale.
"This is very important in the coming months, when Ukraine has a real chance to take the initiative on the battlefield," the minister went on.
Thursday's meeting was the fifth of the Ramstein format, which brings in representatives of over 40 nations to focus on Ukraine's armed forces and assistance thereto, which in Estonia's case has so far totaled €250 million, a third of the national defense budget.
A second field hospital is due to be sent to Ukraine, following one sent jointly with Germany, earlier on in the conflict's current phase, starting late February, while Estonian NGO Slava Ukraini is also providing support towards the hospital becoming a reality, tot he tune of €120,000.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Defense