US to deploy more troops to Estonia to boost NATO defenses

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The United States will deploy additional infantry troops to the Baltic country of Estonia “in the coming weeks” to strengthen defenses on NATO’s eastern flank, Estonian defense officials said Thursday.

The deployment consists of a U.S. infantry company — a unit typically consisting of 80 to 250 soldiers, Estonia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. That will be accompanied by the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, known as HIMARS, as well as associated command and control equipment and systems.

“This decision marks a significant enhancement of the U.S. rotational military presence in Estonia and the Baltic States, demonstrating the U.S.’ long-standing commitment to the security of our region and greatly enhancing NATO’s posture,” Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

Last week, Russia’s neighbor Estonia said it would acquire the advanced HIMARS to boost its defense capabilities in the Baltic country’s largest arms procurement project ever, worth more than $200 million.

In a separate statement, the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn said that the American troops are part of NATO’s enhanced rotational troop deployments agreed at the military alliance’s Madrid summit earlier this year.

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