Following increased Russian airspace activity in the region, Denmark has entered into a new military co-operation deal with Sweden, the two countries have announced.
In December a Russian military jet nearly collided with a SAS passenger plane out of Copenhagen. An October report from the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste – DDIS) revealed that Russia carried out a simulated attack on the Danish island of Bornholm last summer, and in March last year a Swedish SAS pilot said his plane was “just seconds” from crashing into a Russian jet.
Russia's ambassador to Denmark denied the December near-miss, suggesting Swedish authorities may have imagined it after smoking too much cannabis.
Danish Defence Minister Nicolai Wammen told Ritzau that the Russian activity played a role in the neighbours’ new partnership.
“Of course the latest developments in the east play a part and have given us a reason to have a look at areas where we could extend our co-operation,” Wammen told Ritzau on Monday.
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has previously said that Denmark refuses to be intimated by Russia. In November, she told the Financial Times that "we keep our heads calm and the cockpit warm."
The agreement with Sweden, which unlike Denmark is a not a Nato member state, applies to peacetime activity alone and will focus on exchanging information and giving the armed forces of both countries the ability to cross into each other’s territorial waters and airspace, Hultqvist said.
“Deepened Nordic bilateral and multilateral co-operation will strengthen the national defence as well as the ability to conduct operations in our immediate area and beyond. A deeper co-operation with Denmark is a part of closer co-operation with our Nordic neighbours which strengthens security in our region,” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told The Local’s team in Stockholm.
The new deal comes just weeks after Sweden entered into a defence agreement with Finland. Both of Sweden’s new military arrangements will run alongside the already existing Nordic defence co-operation areas Nordefco (Nordic Defence Co-operation).