The United States and Estonia are strong allies and partners. The United States established diplomatic relations with Estonia in 1922 following its declaration of independence during World War I. Even during the illegal occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991, the government of the United States of America recognized the Estonian diplomatic mission as the legal representative of the Republic of Estonia. The recognition of the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia has been the cornerstone of Estonian-U.S. relations, and the United States has never recognized the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union.
As NATO Allies, the United States and Estonia work together to strengthen Transatlantic security, support counterterrorism operations, and fortify cyber defenses. From joint exercises and trainings to military and humanitarian assistance, our security cooperation is one of the most prominent parts of the U.S.-Estonia relationship. Together, we work to strengthen our shared security by improving the interoperability of U.S., Estonian, and other NATO forces, as well as to build Estonia’s capacity for defense and deterrence against any threat.
Since 2016, the United States and Estonia have participated in the U.S.-Baltic Dialogue to broaden and deepen our range of security cooperation activities and address Baltic-wide security gaps. Estonia is committed to improving and enhancing its military capabilities within NATO and has fully met its 2014 Wales Pledge for 2% defense spending as a share of GDP and 20% major equipment purchases as a share of defense spending.
From FY 2017-2021 the Department of State has provided $92.2 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Estonia, as well as $6.9 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding. From FY 2018-2021 the Department of Defense provided an additional $150.0 million in funding under Title 10 Section 333. This assistance has enhanced Estonia’s territorial defense capabilities, including electronic and hybrid warfare, border security, Maritime Domain Awareness, and Integrated Air and Missile Defense. It has also promoted interoperability with the United States and NATO, and helped Estonia support its security commitments abroad.
In FY 2022, the United States provided $140.5 million in FMF, largely from the Ukraine supplemental appropriations. The increase in our contributions demonstrates our enduring commitment to Estonia’s security after the resurgence of Russian aggression since its 2014 seizure of Crimea and its renewed further invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Since February 2022, Estonia has been a strong supporter to Ukraine, contributing more than €255 million worth of equipment to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of Russia’s unlawful aggression and renewed invasion. The equipment includes: howitzers, Javelin anti-tank missile systems, anti-tank mines, mortars ammunition, vehicles, communication devices, medical supplies, protective equipment, and military rations. Estonia also donated two field hospitals and medical equipment for Ukrainian troops in partnership with Germany.
The United States has approximately $158.4 million worth of active sales cases for U.S-origin defense articles and services to Estonia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Recent and significant sales are listed here, and include: M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missiles.
From FY 2019 through FY 2021, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $49.2 million in defense articles to Estonia via Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The top categories of DCS to Estonia were Firearms and Related Articles ($27.8 million); Fire Control, Laser, Imaging and Guidance Equipment ($3.3 million); and Military Electronics ($2.7 million).
The United States and Estonia have the following defense-related agreements: a Basic Exchange and Cooperative Agreement (1993); a Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) (2000); an Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA) (2008); a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) (2017); an Agreement regarding the exchange of military personnel (2017); and a Security Cooperation Roadmap (2019). These foundational documents establish the framework for enhanced partnership and defense and security cooperation between the United States and Estonia. Together with the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, they provide a comprehensive framework for U.S. forces presence and activities in Estonia.
Since 1995, more than 1,300 Estonian peacekeepers have taken part in international peacekeeping and crisis management operations. This includes service in 4 current and former UN-led missions, the NATO mission in Kosovo (KFOR), and the EU led Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). As of June 30, 2022, Estonia contributed a total 6 personnel to MINUSMA, UNIFIL, and UNTSOM, the UN peacekeeping missions in Mali, Lebanon, and the Middle East (UN Military Experts on Mission: 3, Troops: 1, Staff Officers: 1, of which 2 were women).
Estonia has contributed to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) for over 15 years. From CY 2016-2021 they contributed a total of $190,000, with their major focus on supporting clearance efforts in areas recently liberated from ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
For more than 25 years, Estonia has collaborated with the Maryland National Guard through the State Partnership Program (SPP), which brings together military personnel for training, education, and related activities.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.