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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Could Denmark benefit from Swedish and Finnish Nato membership?

Turkey has dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance. Could Denmark benefit?

Could Denmark benefit from Swedish and Finnish Nato membership?

Sweden and Finland appear closer to joining Nato after a major stumbling block appeared to be cleared on Wednesday.

Nato on Wednesday evening said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”. 

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. 

Denmark stands to gain political weight and status within the defence alliance once Sweden and Finland are members, a Danish military analyst said.

“From a security politics point of view, this would give a close Nordic alliance within Nato,” Hans Peter Michaelsen, military analyst at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Military Studies, told news wire Ritzau.

Swedish and Finnish Nato membership could also benefit Denmark militarily, he said.

“Denmark, Sweden and Finland could now support each other militarily,” he said.

“We can complement each other with our different strengths. We can begin to look at distributing burdens internally between the countries. I’m thinking of areas such as the Baltic Sea region here,” he said.

Sweden has a strong navy which is attentive to the Baltic Sea, he noted.

“That means that Nato will command an area where Russia otherwise perhaps did not feel threatened,” he said.

“That will make the Russians consider their future strategy in the region,” he said.

Stoltenberg also cited the Baltic Sea region following the withdrawal by Turkey of its objections.

“This changes the entire balance of power in the Baltic Sea and Baltic Region,” Stoltenberg said according to news wire Ritzau.

With Sweden and Finland in the alliance along with Denmark and the Baltic countries, Nato countries will control all sea access to the Baltic Sea and thereby Russian ports in the region.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: What is in Sweden’s deal with Turkey over Nato?