Defence Minister Sprūds: US military support for Latvia is stronger than ever

03/20/2024 - 20:09
International cooperation
Information prepared by
Media Relations Section

On Thursday, 14 March, Defence Minister Andris Sprūds travelled to Washington to meet with his US counterpart, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. Meeting focused on US-Latvia bilateral cooperation, global security environment and support for Ukraine.

“US is an important strategic partner for Latvia. Political leadership, investments into development of our capabilities and military presence of the United States in Latvia sends a strong signal of deterrence. Defence Secretary Austin and I discussed the next steps that we need to take to make collective defence even stronger. US is ready to continue to provide long-term military presence in Latvia and support further enhancement of our military capabilities through number of programmes,” Defence Minister Andris Sprūds said after the meeting.

Officials discussed strategic partnership between Latvia and US, as well as joint procurement of Naval Strike Missile Coastal Defence Systems and HIMARS high-mobility artillery rocket systems. Mr Austin and Mr Sprūds also discussed Latvia’s progress towards more enhanced defence capabilities, Selonia Military Training Area and introduction of state defence service.

Defence ministers of the United States and Latvia also exchanged views on forthcoming NATO Washington Summit, which will primarily focus on further development of Alliance’s collective defence framework and support for Ukraine. According to Minister Sprūds, US support will be critical in helping Ukraine overcome Russian aggression as it continues to fight for the safety and values of the whole democratic world. Defence Minister of Latvia believes that US will be able to reach internal political consensus required to approve major assistance package for Ukraine. 

Defence Minister’s visit included meeting with Michigan National Guard – Latvia’s cooperation partner for more than three decades. In recent years, this cooperation has resulted in development of Lielvārde Air Base and training of Black Hawk pilots. Sides plan to expand cooperation on rocket artillery, command and control, and drone capabilities in the coming years. Michigan National Guard will also help develop the Selonia Military Training Area. 

US visit of Andris Sprūds also included a number of meeting with top US Congress representatives.

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