As part of America’s push to help NATO defend forward against Russian adventurism, the U.S. has just allocated $169 million in military aid to the three Baltic NATO members, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. All three were previously occupied by Soviet Russia, and border on Russia today.
As I have noted, under the Trump administration, U.S. military efforts in Europe have been focused on reinforcing the countries directly facing Russia, such as Poland, Romania, and the Baltics. This is in contrast to simply maintaining the old status quo in countries such as Germany, no longer on the front lines with Russia.
While Washington has had multiple military exercises in the Baltics and provided military assistance to the three Baltic nations, this was the first time the aid is being allocated through a new dedicated program — the Baltic Security Initiative (BSI).
As ABC News reported, Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said in a statement that this measure demonstrates that, “the United States sees Estonia and the Baltic states as trustworthy allies who take their commitment to defense seriously.”
In a Twitter post, Estonia’s Defense Ministry called the move “important & highly appreciated news.”
The military aid program was included in the U.S. defense appropriations bill approved by Congress and signed into law on Tuesday. This added aid should help the Baltic nations bolster their defenses against Russia.
But the threat from Russia isn’t just kinetic.
In the past three months, notes ABC, “the U.S. Cyber Command [CYBERCOM] held a joint operation with Estonia to help the nation search out and block potential cyber-threats from Russia.”
Let’s hope CYBERCOM was better at helping the Baltics than it apparently was in blocking Russian hacks in the United States.