The U.S. and Latvia share a history as strategic allies and valued partners. The United States established diplomatic relations with Latvia in 1922 following its independence in the years after World War I. Latvia was forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 during World War II. In 1991, Latvia restored its independence and international recognition followed. The United States had never recognized the forcible incorporation of Latvia into the Soviet Union, and it views the present Government of Latvia as the legal continuation of the interwar republic.
After Latvia regained its independence, the United States worked closely with the country to help it rebuild its democratic institutions and a market economy. The U.S. welcomed Latvia’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) in 2004. As a NATO Ally and EU member, Latvia has become a strong, effective partner committed to promoting democratic principles at home and abroad.
Since February 2022, Latvia has contributed equipment worth more than €314 million to help Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of Russia’s unlawful aggression and renewed invasion including M109 self-propelled howitzers, helicopters, anti-tank weapons, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, fuel, rations, and medical equipment.
Since 2016, the United States and Latvia have participated in the U.S.-Baltic Dialogue to broaden and deepen our range of security cooperation activities and address Baltic-wide security gaps. In October 2022, Latvia hosted the first U.S.-Baltic Multilateral Engagement and Industry Day. Latvia is committed to improving and enhancing its military capabilities within NATO and has fully met its 2014 Wales Pledge, by spending more than 2% of its GDP on defense and 20% major equipment purchases as a share of defense spending. Latvia has committed to increase that spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2025.
From FY 2017-2021 the Department of State has provided $115.65 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Latvia, as well as $7.75 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding. From FY 2018-2021 the Department of Defense provided an additional $210.2 million in funding under Section 333. This assistance has enhanced Latvia’s territorial defense capabilities, including electronic and hybrid warfare, border security, and maritime and air domain awareness. It has also promoted interoperability with the United States and NATO, and helped Latvia support its security commitments abroad. In FY 2022, the United States provided $145.1 million in FMF, largely from the Ukraine supplemental appropriations. The increase in our contributions demonstrates our enduring commitment to Latvia’s security after the resurgence of Russian aggression since its 2014 seizure of Crimea and its renewed further invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The United States has approximately $339 million worth of active sales cases for U.S-origin defense articles and services to Latvia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Recent and significant sales are listed , and include: UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters.
From FY 2019 through FY 2021, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $35.2 million in defense articles to Latvia via Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The top categories of DCS to Latvia were Military Electronics ($30.5 million); Fire Control, Laser, Imaging and Guidance Equipment ($2.2 million); and Ammunition and Ordnance ($1.1 million).
The United States and Latvia have the following defense-related agreements: a Basic Exchange and Cooperative Agreement (1993); a Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) (1998); a General Security of Military Information Agreement (1998); an Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA) (2008); a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) (2017); an Agreement regarding the exchange of military personnel (2017); a Security Cooperation Roadmap (2019); and a Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA) (2022). These foundational documents establish a framework for enhanced partnership and defense and security cooperation between the United States and Latvia. Together with the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, they provide a comprehensive framework for U.S. forces operating in Latvia.
Since 1995, Latvian peacekeepers have taken part in various international peacekeeping and crisis management operations. This includes service in two current UN-led missions, as well as the NATO mission in Kosovo (KFOR) and the EU led Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). As of June 30, 2022, Latvia contributed a total 2 personnel to MINUSMA and UNTSO, the UN peacekeeping missions in Mali and the Middle East (UN Military Experts on Mission: 1, Staff Officers: 1, of which 2 were women).
For almost 30 years, Latvia has collaborated with the Michigan National Guard through the , which brings together military personnel for training, education, and related activities. Latvia regularly participates in training events with the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Special Operations forces through NATO.
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.