US to invest €40m in Baltic airbases

The United States is set to spend nearly €40m ($50m) next year on upgrades to military airbases in the Baltic states, Estonia's ERR News reported Monday.

According to details of defense spending relesaed by the Estonian defense ministry, the United States has earmarked around €20m to be spent at Estonia's Amari airbase, plus €8m for Latvia's Lielvarde airbase and €11m for Lithuania's Siauliai base.

The cash is part of a big-buck spending spree backed by Washington to strengthen NATO's eastern border.

Around €140m of a total €800m amount for Cenral and Eastern Europe is intended for spending on projects in the Baltic and Ukraine.

The news comes as two more nations prepare to take over air patrol duties from the Siauliai and Amari bases with Italy and Spain taking over duties while Belgium takes up the reins at Malbork in Poland, another BAP base.

Latvia's Lielvarde base is geared more towards large freight and logistics flights than the fighter-intercept capability that has recently been to the fore with Russian  military aircraft frequently appearing unannounced over the Baltic Sea.

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