Estonia has committed one-third of its defense budget to Ukraine, the country’s defense minister said Tuesday.
Speaking at a meeting with reporters covering the US State Department and Defense Department, Hanno Pevkur said Estonia defines the conflict in Ukraine not only as the Russia-Ukraine war but also as the war of the free and rule-based world with Russia.
"We are doing a lot. So Estonian help to Ukraine has come to 1% of our GDP," Pevkur said, referring to gross domestic product, or the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country in a given period of time.
His remarks came after meeting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Defense Department.
Pevkur said there will be a greater US presence in Estonia in the coming years and stressed that the US is committed to protecting NATO members, including Estonia.
He also said he is looking forward to NATO’s next plans, which include establishing a divisional structure and divisional headquarters in Estonia together with the UK.
"And when the UK allocates a brigade to Estonia, then the US will look more deeply into what capabilities are additionally needed to send the message to Russia that NATO is there and that NATO will protect each inch of its territory," said Pevkur.
"We also agreed that if there is a need for additional information sharing, we will do it swiftly and quickly," he added.
Regarding their meeting, the Pentagon said in a statement that Austin and Pevkur discussed the ongoing efforts to ensure NATO’s credible deterrence and defense posture.
"Secretary Austin and Minister Pevkur discussed security cooperation and future defense capabilities in Estonia, and Secretary Austin lauded the decisions taken at the Madrid Summit, as well as Estonian defense spending and defense investment," said the statement.
"Secretary Austin commended Estonia for its forward-leaning support to Ukraine and agreed with Minister Pevkur on the necessity of maintaining that strong support moving forward," it added.