February 16, 2023
United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III arrived to Estonia today to meet with Estonian leaders, including Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur. During his meetings in Tallinn, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the strong security partnership between the United States and Estonia and emphasized a shared resolve in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine.
“The United States remains steadfastly committed to the freedom and sovereignty of our Baltic allies, and we stand united with you to deter and defend against any threat to our shared security,” Secretary Austin said during his remarks at the Ministry of Defense. Secretary Austin also thanked Estonia for its strong support for Ukraine, calling Estonia’s leadership “a shining example to all countries.”
U.S. Ambassador Designate to Estonia George P. Kent warmly welcomed Secretary Austin to Estonia. “Secretary Austin’s visit clearly demonstrates the U.S. commitment to Estonia. Estonia is a valued partner and trusted NATO Ally, and our security partnership has never been stronger,” Ambassador Designate Kent said.
During his visit to Tallinn, Secretary Austin also met with U.S. military servicemembers currently deployed to Estonia and servicemembers from the Estonian Defense Forces to emphasize the importance of their work contributing to allied readiness and combat effectiveness and advancing the U.S.-Estonia defense partnership.
Secretary Austin was joined on his visit by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Dr. Celeste Wallander, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Ms. Laura Cooper, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Mr. Spencer Boyer.