The United States will send an infantry company and a HIMARS multiple launch rocket system to Estonia in the coming weeks to strengthen NATO's eastern flank amid the Ukraine crisis, the Estonian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th December, 2022) The United States will send an infantry company and a HIMARS multiple launch rocket system to Estonia in the coming weeks to strengthen NATO's eastern flank amid the Ukraine crisis, the Estonian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
At the NATO summit in Madrid in June, US President Joe Biden pledged to build up US military assets in the Baltic states and ensure the country's permanent presence in the region. In early December, Tallinn signed a $200 million contract with Washington to purchase HIMARS systems.
"In the coming weeks, the United States will deploy additional rotational forces to Estonia in order to strengthen NATO's forward defenses and increase the security of its Allies," the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that the deployment would consist of "an infantry company and a HIMARS platoon, as well as associated command and control equipment and systems."
This marks an important step in ensuring a US rotational military presence in Estonia and the Baltic countries, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur was cited as saying in the statement.
"We expect to receive our own HIMARS systems by 2025, so being able to learn the ropes early with the U.S. troops will make the adoption even smoother and win us critical time," Pevkur added.
A US military unit will participate in joint exercises with the Estonian defense forces, the statement read. The parties are also scheduled to establish a divisional structure in Estonia within the framework of NATO, it added.
NATO has been boosting its eastern flank since late 2021 by dispatching additional troops. In response to Russia launching a military operation in Ukraine, NATO announced its plans to further reinforce the alliance's flank by sending additional forces to the region and putting them on high alert.
There has been a surge in demand for HIMARS systems after they received publicity through their combat deployment in Ukraine. Along with Estonia, several other countries have announced their intention to purchase this type of weaponry from the United States. Those include Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Australia.