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EXPLAINED: How Denmark could be impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Tensions between Russia and western nations have increased following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Local takes a look at Denmark’s stance on the war and how the country could be impacted.

demonstration in Copenhagen supporting Ukraine
A boy wearing the blue and yellow scarf of Danish football team Brøndby takes part in demonstration in Copenhagen against Russian aggression in Ukraine on February 23rd, prior to the Russian invasion of the country on February 24th 2022. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

What’s Denmark’s relationship with Russia in general?

Denmark does not have enormous levels of Russian wealth invested in areas such as real estate, as is the case in some other Western European countries, notably the United Kingdom.

It is also the Nordic country furthest from Russia geographically. Norway and Finland both share a border with Russia, while it is also a close neighbour to Sweden, with Swedish Baltic Sea islands often identified as potential targets for Russian military action.

Denmark’s own Baltic Sea island, Bornholm, was briefly occupied by the Soviet army after the end of the German occupation of Denmark in 1945, but the two countries are otherwise relatively distant in a physical sense.

However, the government said this month it would be ready to send two F-16 fighter jets to its Baltic island of Bornholm “if judged necessary” amid concerns over what was then the threat of invasion of Ukraine.

As tensions over Russian aggression towards Ukraine increased in 2022, Denmark has taken some steps in response. The government said on February 1st that it is prepared to send military equipment to Ukraine. It has also increased military preparedness and recalled a navy frigate from Africa over the Ukraine crisis.

In a somewhat unprecedented step, the government said earlier this month that Denmark could eventually allow US military troops on its soil as part of a new bilateral defence agreement with the United States.

What has Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said?

Frederiksen released a statement on Thursday morning in which she condemned the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“A military attack on a free and sovereign nation has no place in Europe in our time. Russia’s actions are completely unacceptable. We will stand united, there will be consequences. My thoughts are with the people of Ukraine,” she said in a statement released by the PM’s office.

The foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, told broadcaster DR this morning that Denmark would coordinate with other countries over sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“This will be met by the West with hard reactions and sanctions. We will therefore coordinate with our European allies, but also with the Americans and British over a united, hard and clear response to this attack on Ukraine, a sovereign country in Europe,” Kofod said.

Other political party leaders also condemned the military attack.

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, leader of the opposition Liberal party, said “Putin’s unprovoked and completely unnecessary attack on Ukraine is step backwards for European civilisation”.

Conservative leader Søren Pape Poulsen called the invasion “an unprovoked attack on a democratic and peaceful country”.

Poulsen said responsibility for the invasion was “solely Russia’s”.

How will it impact Denmark economically?

Denmark’s economy is not closely tied to either Russia or Ukraine. Official statistics show the value of trade with Russia for the Danish economy on 2020 was around 6.8 billion kroner, with trade with Ukraine having a value of 2.1 billion kroner.

That can be compared with the values of trade with two of Denmark’s biggest international trade markets – Germany and the United States – around 96 billion kroner and 76 billion kroner in 2020, respectively.

Danish brewery Carlsberg said on Thursday it had closed its three breweries in Ukraine. Two of the breweries were close for the safety of its staff and the third due to gas supply problems, news wire Ritzau reported. The company has around 1,350 staff in the country.

Russia is a major market for Carlsberg with around 9,000 staff. The Russian and Ukrainian markets are included in a central and eastern European business division with 11 other countries. The division represents around a quarter of Carlsberg’s total sales according to Ritzau.

The Danish C25 stock exchange fell by just under four percent on Thursday morning. The index includes some of Denmark’s largest companies including Vestas, Novo Nordisk and Maersk. The long term effect on share prices is uncertain.

Indirect factors could have an impact on the Danish economy, notably rising fuel prices which are already at a record-high

Travelling to Ukraine

The Danish foreign ministry last week advised its nationals to leave Ukraine as the threat of invasion increased.

Danish authorities said prior to the Russian invasion this week that they were aware of around 100 of the country’s citizens who are still in Ukraine.

Around 240 other had left the country and registered this with the foreign ministry’s so-called danskerliste, a list on which Danes can register their whereabouts in foreign countries.

People who legally reside in Denmark can use the list along with Danish citizens.

The Danish embassy in Ukrainian capital Kyiv was closed for safety reasons as of February 24th, according to the foreign ministry’s website.

People seeking advice are asked to contact the foreign ministry’s global service via telephone or email. Contact details are provided here.

The Ukraine section of the Danish foreign ministry website states that there are “reports of explosions and rocket attacks in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine” and that “airspace is closed”.

Member comments

  1. It is quiet naive to think that exposure is limited to 6.8 billion DKK. We have global economy and basically everyting you buy from Germany is either made from Russian fossil fuels, rare earth metals or Ukranian agreecultural sector imports to Germany and rest of EU.

    Hence, your exposure to market price fluctuations is above 100 billion DKK, which is about to raise by at least 20-25% (just like it does now in Germany or US). Certainly, it is not wisest decision to increase on defence spending in such regard, considering the fact that Denmark produces no weapons of its own, so its 2% of GDP invested outside the country with close to 0 reinvestment to local infrastructure.

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Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.