The defense ministers of Estonia and Latvia signed a letter of intent on Thursday, June 30, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, regarding the joint procurement of medium-range air defense systems, reports AFP.
“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine clearly demonstrates the need for air defense systems,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks was quoted as saying in an official statement.
“I am pleased that we are implementing this project with Estonia, thus strengthening our regional cooperation and our common defense,” he added.
According to his Estonian counterpart, Kalle Laanet, “the NATO summit has sent a clear message: Those who are ready to defend themselves will be helped.”
A proposal for the acquisition of new systems by these two Baltic countries bordering Russia, members of the EU and NATO, is to be discussed at the end of July. Neither the cost nor the delivery timeframe of the new equipment was disclosed.
Back in March, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Estonia announced it will increase its defense budget by €476 million, most of which will be spent on upgrading its air-defense systems with ones similar to the Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) that Estonia’s neighbor Lithuania ordered from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.