Vanin’s comments came amid reports that Denmark plans to send 150 soldiers to the Baltic region as part of Nato efforts to bolster its presence in eastern Europe. Nato is expected to announce at its July summit in Warsaw that upwards of 6,000 troops will be deployed to the alliance’s “eastern flank”.
“It is a provocation and there will naturally be a Russian response. Not aggressive, but we will strengthen our defences because of it. We cannot support this decision. We need to end this chapter of hostilities – but it comes first and foremost from the Danish side, not the Russian,” Vanin told Politiken.
The ambassador said that Denmark has a history of “anti-Russian” behaviour.
“Denmark is always leading the way in any anti-Russian campaign. When there are sanctions against Russia, Denmark is among the first. If it’s about sending troops to Russia’s borders, Denmark is out front,” he said.
“When it comes to disputes with Russia in multinational organizations, Denmark is among the club of… I won’t say ‘enemies’, but countries that are very hostile,” he said.
Vanin, Russia’s ambassador to Denmark since 2012, has often had choice words for the Danes. In March 2015, he wrote an op-ed for Jyllands-Posten in which he warned that Denmark has made itself a target of a potential nuclear attack by joining Nato’s missile defence system.
In December 2014, he fired off an insult at Denmark’s neighbour by saying Swedish concerns over a submarine in their waters and a Russian military jet's alleged near-miss with a passenger plane were the result of smoking too much weed.
“The Swedish authorities also recently said there was a submarine in their waters. There wasn’t. Now they say again that they have seen something. I'm afraid the Swedes visit Pusher Street very often,” he told Berlingske, referring to the Christiania neighbourhood in Copenhagen known for its cannabis trade.
Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen declined to comment on Vanin’s latest remarks but has said previously said that he wants to “reopen dialogue” with the Russians in light of increased tensions between the two countries over the past couple of years.
The intelligence agencies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway have all placed Russian aggression near the top of their respective national security challenges.
The Russians carried out not one but two separate simulated attacks on the Danish island of Bornholm and Russian activity in and around Danish air space has included near-collisions with passenger planes. A March report indicated however that Russian jets have been far less active in Danish air space in 2016 as compared to the previous two years.
Russia and Denmark have also laid conflicting claims over the North Pole.