SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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Estonia's Defense Spending to Exceed 3% of GDP in Coming Years

© Flickr / US Army Europe Gunner.The exercise spans multiple locations in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia
 Gunner.The exercise spans multiple locations in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Estonia's defense spending will amount to more than 3% of GDP in the coming years, with US assistance to strengthen the country's defense capabilities "sooner than planned," Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, who is on a visit to Washington, said on Monday.
"Estonia understands the importance of defence investments, which is why our defence spending in the coming years exceeds 3% of GDP. Adding the US security assistance to our own defence budget, we can reinforce our independent defence capabilities sooner than planned," Tsahkna said in a statement released by the foreign ministry.
A female soldier of the P18 Gotland Regiment is pictured during a field exercise near Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on May 17, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.03.2024
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The United States has demonstrated its strong "commitment" to Estonia's security by adopting a $228 million military assistance to the Baltic states, the top Estonian diplomat said.
"Financial security assistance from the US has considerably contributed to the development of Estonia's defence capabilities and building the necessary infrastructure," Tsahkna added.
Last week, US congressional negotiators agreed to increase funding for the Baltic Security Initiative by $20 million to $228 million as part of its spending package for fiscal year 2024.
Previously, Sputnik elaborated as to why the militarization of the Baltic Sea would pose serious security risks which Russia would swiftly respond to.
Moscow cannot turn a blind eye to NATO activities along Russian borders and must bolster defenses in its north-western regions. In December 2023, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow had reestablished the Leningrad Military District and begun concentrating military units there.
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