The U.S. wants to give Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania up to $100 million under its 2018 national defense budget to help build their capacity to deter Russian aggression.
According to materials on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 released by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees last week, the budget will authorize up to $100 million from the European Deterrence Initiative "to conduct or support a single joint program of the Baltic nations to improve their resilience against and build their capacity to deter Russian aggression."
The Senate and House Armed Services Committees announced the details of the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 on Nov. 8.
Ministry: Potential aid to be spent on independent defense capability
"The U.S. security assistance is meant to support the development of the independent defense capabilities of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in accordance with these countries' military defense development plans; the priorities of assistance have been coordinated with the Baltic countries," Ministry of Defence spokesperson Andres Sang told BNS.
"We highly appreciate the support of the White House and the Congress for this initiative," Sang said. He added, however, that at this point, the authorization was still just a proposal and not an endorsed decision.
"We are currently talking about a proposal for the budget bill, which requires the approval of both houses of Congress and signing by the president," Sang noted.
Editor: Aili Vahtla