TALLINN (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, a US delegation met with Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser in Tallinn.
"Head of the [US] delegation… Rob Wittman said that the presence of US troops was important, because the rotation of US soldiers in Estonia would help them gain experience and knowledge of the situation in the region."
The European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) aims to provide Eastern European countries with funds for exercises, patrols and infrastructure improvements to increase the capability, readiness, and responsiveness of NATO forces in the region.
"According to Wittman, Estonia will receive $68 million for development of infrastructure of military bases in the Amari and Tapa through NATO’s support program of eastern countries European Reassurance Initiative (ERI)."
NATO has been increasing its presence in Eastern Europe since Crimea's reunification with Russia in March 2014, as the West refused to recognize a legitimate referendum and blamed Moscow for violating Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Russia has repeatedly denying these claims and stated that the bloc's increased activities near its borders undermine regional and international stability.
In June, the United States pledged to construct military training facilities in six Eastern European nations, including Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, to facilitate the flexibility of NATO troops in the region.