To date, Estonia has sent a total of approaching €300 million in military aid to Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression, making us one of the countries to have contributed the most in relative terms, Ministry of Defense Secretary General Kusti Salm said Friday.
“Estonia’s military aid to Ukraine is starting to approach €300 million,” Salm said at a press conference held at the Ministry of Defense. “Thus we remain among the world’s top supporters in all kinds of relative terms — whether GDP or military spending.”
According to the secretary general, Estonia’s biggest contribution of late has been its focus on training Ukrainian troops. “We plan to train a rather impressive number of Ukrainian soldiers,” he stressed.
Salm explained that in addition to air defense capability and ammunition, Ukraine has also increasingly been requesting help conducting training, as its units are tiring and need to be rotated out and replaced by a new shift at the front.
The ministry official also provided an overview of Wednesday’s Ramstein format meeting, in which more than 50 countries under the direction of the U.S. discussed Ukraine aid and announced additional military aid packages.
Salm emphasized that Estonia’s Ministry of Defense considers criticism of Germany in this regard unjust, considering its significant nominal support of Ukraine — including €1.5 billion in military aid and an additional €1 billion for other purposes from Germany’s state budget on top of that.
All investments Germany has made in its own defense also ultimately end up contributing in turn to the Baltic countries’ security, particularly in Lithuania, where it serves as the anchor for NATO presence in the country, he noted.
“In other words, their steps have actually been every bit welcome,” he said.
The secretary general noted that Germany has provided Ukraine with five multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), 14 self-propelled howitzers Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000), which are among the most powerful in the world, as well as IRIS-T air defense systems that have seen nearly 100 percent efficacy in use in Ukraine.
He also highlighted other military aid packages and contributions announced by Western countries this week.
Sweden announced its ninth military aid package to Ukraine, which, at €276 million, will exceed all previous Swedish aid combined. Salm noted that this latest package includes air defense weapons, which Ukraine has requested the most. Canada also announced a $34 million package at the Ramstein meeting, and a $500 million aid package was announced at the G20 summit in Bali that can also be used to provide aid to Ukraine.
Finland also announced its tenth aid package this week, which at €55.6 million brings Finland’s total military aid contributions to Ukraine to €160 million, and Spain announced it was donating six Hawk air defense systems. Salm noted that Spain has previously already donated howitzers to Ukraine as well.
With the help of Western military aid, Ukraine has already managed to increase its air defense capability by 30 percent in recent weeks, the Estonian ministry official emphasized.