09:49 GMT25 February 2020
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    TALLINN (Sputnik) - The United States will allocate $175 million in military aid to three Baltic nations in 2020, while this assistance, for the first time, will separately include funds on the development of the air defence in the region, the Estonian Defence Ministry said on Monday.

    "The United States will allocate 125 million dollars to develop military cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania next year. It will also create, for the first time in history, a separate 50 million dollar budget line to support the development of Baltic air defence", the Estonian Ministry said.

    Defence Minister Juri Luik welcomed the US decision as a step toward strengthening the "deterrence and defence posture" on NATO's eastern flank, especially praising special attention that had been paid to air defence of the Baltic nations.

    "The transition from air policing to air defence requires a common decision from all Allies, but the US position and practical support are of great importance. We greatly appreciate the US support for the development of our region's defence", Luik said, as quoted by the Ministry.

    On Friday, US President Donald Trump signed the $738 billion National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes aid to the country’s NATO allies and other partners.

    Apart from the aid to Baltic nations, the NDAA renewed $300 million in US security assistance for Ukraine, which includes $100 million for lethal defence weapons. The legislation, moreover, expands the types of aid that Ukraine can receive, including coastal defence cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles. The bill also bars military-to-military cooperation with Russia and envisages sanctions against its Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines.

    Tags:
    Nord Stream-2, military aid, United States, Estonia
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