Estonia steps up support for Ukraine with drone and demining coalitions

At the Defense Contact Group of Ukraine (Ramstein) meeting, Estonia pledged its support by joining demining coalitions led by Latvia and Lithuania, marking a strategic move to bolster Ukraine’s military and humanitarian efforts.

In a show of solidarity, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur reaffirmed the country’s commitment to strengthening Ukraine’s defense initiatives through cooperative ventures in drone technology and demining operations. The announcement at the recent meeting of the Contact Group on the Defense of Ukraine in Brussels shows Estonia’s proactive stance to help the Ukraine amid ongoing regional tensions.

Lithuania’s appeal for demining support answered

While the meeting marked the first gathering since the change of command in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, it witnessed unanimous support from defense ministers for maintaining military aid to Ukraine. Minister Pevkur’s endorsement of Estonia’s participation in the Latvian-led drone coalition and the Lithuanian-led demining coalition signals strategic alignment with neighboring allies to strengthen Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities and humanitarian efforts.

In September 2023, Lithuania emphasized the importance of strengthening support for its Demining Coalition, despite being lower on the agenda. National Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas urged undecided nations to join and contribute to demining efforts. The coalition, formed three months ago, includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, focusing on the “train and equip” principle to provide demining equipment and personnel training to the Ukrainian military.

“We are joining efforts in these coalitions to strengthen drone capabilities in Ukraine and explore avenues for combat support and humanitarian demining,” Minister Pevkur said, underscoring Estonia’s commitment to leverage collective expertise for Ukraine’s benefit.

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From GlobalData

Priority in drone technology

The outbreak of war in Ukraine saw the most widespread use of both consumer and military drone technology in a conflict to date, as detailed in GlobalData.Thematic Intelligence: Drones in Aerospace & Defense (2023)” report.

Amidst discussions at the Ramstein meeting, where ministers met in person at NATO headquarters, and effectively, updates on the activities of the capability coalitions were shared. Minister Pevkur provided information on the progress of the IT Coalition, led by Estonia and Luxembourg, emphasizing the development of the coalition with 11 states and financial contributions exceeding €30 million ($32.4 million). Specifically, the coalition Steering Group gave the green light to the NATO procurement agency NSPA to begin purchases that help Ukraine’s needs.

The IT Coalition, launched in September 2023, aims to strengthen Ukraine’s information and communication capabilities, enhancing effectiveness on the battlefield. With the support of member states and the recent addition of the United Kingdom’s declaration of intent to join, the coalition continues to strengthen Ukraine’s defense infrastructure.

The The United Kingdom and Latvia have also launched a coalition to supply thousands of first-person-view drones (FPVs) to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities. The initiative represents a strategic shift toward prioritizing drone technology to enhance battlefield situational awareness.

Long-term commitment to Ukraine

Minister Pevkur reiterated the importance of 2024 as a pivotal year for the Ramstein coalition, stressing the imperative for the US and Europe to align with long-term support strategies for Ukraine. Estonia’s commitment to allocate 0.25% of its GDP over the next four years shows a continued effort to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid evolving geopolitical dynamics.

The main driver of Estonia’s large budget increase is the heightened risks and concerns about Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and Russia’s continued aggressive stance. Estonia has provided Ukraine with ongoing funding to help it in the conflict, making it a major driver of spending, according to GlobalData.Defense Market of Estonia 2023-2028” report.

Analyzing the impact of collective commitments, the Ministry of Defense of Estonia highlights the potential for progress in Ukraine’s defense landscape. With member states devoting 0.25% of GDP, combined with intensive training, enhanced production and continued delivery of weapon systems.

In parallel talks, the Baltic states and three NATO battlegroup nations came together to address regional security concerns, marking a concerted effort to boost stability and cooperation in the Baltic region.

Estonia’s proactive engagement in multinational coalitions reflects the Allies’ shared commitment to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and security, underscoring the enduring partnership between the Baltic States and NATO in addressing complex geopolitical challenges.



Read the original at Defence247.gr

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