'Good news': US greenlights military aid for Baltic States

'Good news': US greenlights military aid for Baltic States

The US has greenlit a new raft of military support for Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, according to Estonian defence officials.

Washington agreed to provide a total of $228 million (€210 million) in defence aid under the Baltic Security Initiative on Friday.

The three countries - all NATO and EU members - are neighbours of Russia and its ally Belarus.

Moscow's invasion of Ukraine has caused tensions to soar in the region, which was once occupied by the USSR.

"Support from the US has significantly helped Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fast track several military infrastructure and capability development projects," Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur said in a statement.

“The good news is that the support is slightly higher than last year.”

“This [financial aid] sends a clear signal that the US, the largest ally in NATO, is committed to the security and stability of our region,” he added.

The Baltic Security Initiative, set up in 2020, seeks to enhance the capability and interoperability of the armed forces in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with the help of the US military.

US funding is focused on developing air defences, land forces and maritime situation awareness in the Baltic states, said Estonia's defence ministry.

Some $225 million (€207 million) was allocated in aid under the BSI to the three countries in 2023.

In December, Washington agreed on a five-year defence cooperation road map with Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, intended to guide the collaborative relationships for defence and national security between the countries through 2028.