Estonia to Receive $68Mln From US to Develop Military Bases

© REUTERS / Ints KalninsEstonian soldiers take part in NATO military exercise Hedgehog 2015 at the Tapa training range in Estonia May 12, 2015
Estonian soldiers take part in NATO military exercise Hedgehog 2015 at the Tapa training range in Estonia May 12, 2015 - Sputnik International
Estonia will receive $68 million from the United States for military base infrastructure development, the press service of the Estonian Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday.

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)."

Demonstration program of Army-2015 International Military-Technical Forum - Sputnik International
NATO Needs Bigger Guns to Fight Russia – Defense Analysts

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.

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