Denmark prepared to send 800 Nato troops to Baltic states

Denmark has said it will make a battalion of 800 troops available to Nato in Baltic countries to counter any Russian threat there following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Denmark will make a battalion of 800 troops available to Nato in Baltic countries. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The Nordic country has already deployed some 200 military personnel and fighter jets to Estonia and Lithuania, and sent a frigate to the east of the Baltic Sea.

“We are already significantly present on the ground, but we are ready to do more,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“This is why the government will suggest sending a battalion of 800 (soldiers) to Baltic countries,” she said.

The battalion was on standby, but Nato must make an official request for the soldiers to be sent, the prime minister added.

Frederiksen made the announcement after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Danish parliament via videolink.

Frederiksen is due to travel Wednesday to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, including to visit Danish troops there.

Like many other European countries, Denmark has sent weapons to help Ukraine fight off the Russians.

READ ALSO: Denmark creates jobs website for Ukraine refugees

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Defence minister would welcome Nato troops in Danish port city

Denmark’s Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov said on Friday he wants to increase the viability of west coast port Esbjerg for use by military alliance Nato, including troops from the United States.

Defence minister would welcome Nato troops in Danish port city

Bødskov visited West Jutland city Esbjerg on Friday as part of considerations over a potential extension of the city’s port, the Ministry of Justice said.

The port city, which also played host to this week’s green energy meetings, has been flagged as the site of a new mustering point for Nato and especially United States military forces, according to a press release from the Ministry of Defence. 

“Russia’s terrible attack on Ukraine makes it very clear that Denmark must live up to expectations that we can act as a host country for allies who want to go through Denmark,” Bødskov said in the statement.

The ministry said that the United States in particular has shown interest in making more use of Esbjerg harbour.

Such use would be part of operations in which the city’s port would be used to transport military personnel and hardware to the Baltic Sea region including the Baltic countries.

Esbjerg Harbour has been used by the American military on a number of previous occasions in relation to exercises, while hardware and personnel have previously travelled through the city.

“Esbjerg Harbour has an attractive location in relation to supporting our Nato allies – particularly the United States – with the deployment of things like hardware in the Baltic Sea region,” he said.

“It’s a good opportunity for Denmark to provide support to countries that send reinforcements to maintain security for all of us,” he said.

The exact plans for the harbour – and their cost – are currently unconfirmed.

Preliminary work at the location will include environmental approvals, which must first be prepared. The Defence Ministry did not give clear detail as to what this process entails.

An extension of the harbour is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, however.

READ ALSO: Denmark begins largest military deployment in 23 years