The United States Congress has passed a USD1.5 trillion budget package that includes USD180 million in security assistance for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2022.
The aid will be provided under the Baltic Security Initiative. Established in 2020, the Baltic Security Initiative allows the US systematically support the development of independent defence capabilities and interoperability between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, by more clearly highlighting the security concerns of the Baltic region in the US legislation, the Estonian defence ministry said in a statement.
In 2021, the initiative allocated USD169 million to the Baltic countries. The focus has been in the areas of special operations, air defence, ammunition and maritime situational awareness. The Baltic states also want to jointly develop a long-range indirect fire capability with the US support.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the presence of the US military in the Baltic Sea region has increased significantly. The US reinforcement includes F-35 fighters, AH-64 attack helicopters, Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and the deployment of ground forces to the Baltic Sea region that includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Three US F-35 stealth fighters and six F-15 aircraft have arrived at Ämari Air Base in Estonia. In addition, there are US Special Forces serving in Estonia.