Denmark to send 800 Nato troops to Latvia

Denmark will send 800 troops to Latvia in May in response to a request from Nato, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a visit to the Adazi military base in Latvia
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a visit to the Adazi military base in Latvia. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen had placed the battalion on alert after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and amid rising tensions between the West and Moscow.

Denmark has already sent land and air reinforcements to the Baltic states and Poland.

On Tuesday, the Danish government said it was ready to send 800 soldiers to the Baltics if Nato requested them.

“We have now received a formal request from Nato to place the battalion in Latvia,” Frederiksen said during a visit to the Baltic nation on Thursday.

The troops are due to arrive in May, the Danish military said.

Nato has sent a large number of troops to the alliance’s eastern flank with reinforcements in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Some 100,000 US troops are now present in Europe, more than 40,000 of them under direct Nato command in eastern Europe.

Denmark sent fighter jets to Lithuania before the invasion of Ukraine, and in early March it sent 200 troops to Estonia, two fighter jets to Poland and a frigate to the eastern waters of the Baltic Sea.

READ ALSO: Denmark prepared to send 800 Nato troops to Baltic states

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Denmark accuses Russian spy plane of violating airspace

The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, has been summoned for a talk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, after a Russian plane violated Danish airspace on Friday, according to Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.

Denmark accuses Russian spy plane of violating airspace

On Friday, a Russian AN-30 propeller plane was flying east of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic, before it headed towards Swedish territory.

“It is completely unacceptable and extremely worrying in the current situation”, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

Danish F16 fighter jets countered the incursion and the plane then left Danish airspace. 

“We are in a special situation across the whole of Europe. That is why, of course, it is really serious when we see Russia violating our airspace. Therefore we have called in the Ambassador so that we can make that view clear to Russia,” Kofod reiterated to newswire Ritzau.

The plane was also briefly in Swedish airspace. It is unknown whether this was a deliberate violation or not.

Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin has attended several talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the war in Ukraine.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, Moscow has threatened retaliation against any countries that participate in the war, which Russia characterises as a “special military operation”, on the side of Ukraine.

Danish fighter aircraft currently patrol the skies over Baltic Sea island Bornholm daily in what has been described as a precaution against potential Russian encroachment on Danish airspace in the area.

Denmark is a member of NATO, unlike Sweden where a debate is taking place over whether it should abandon its non-aligned status and join the alliance.

Questioned by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, the Swedish defence minister said there was no proof that the breach was linked to current discussions on Stockholm eventually joining NATO.

Russia has already signalled that Stockholm and Helsinki, which is also contemplating membership, should consider the consequences of such a move on bilateral relations and Europe’s overall security architecture.