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MILITARY

Denmark begins largest military deployment in 23 years

There will be an increase in military traffic across Denmark this weekend, as the country begins the largest deployment of manpower and equipment in Europe since Kosovo in 1999, according to Denmark's Defence Ministry.

Danish armoured personnel carrier
A Danish armoured personnel carrier. There will be increased military traffic this weekend, as Denmark prepares to send hundreds of military vehicles and soldiers to Latvia, as part of NATO's deterrence mission against Russia. Photo Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Hundreds of vehicles and equipment will initially be transported from Denmark’s barracks and other places to the Port of Køge, from where it will sail to Latvia next week, as part of NATO’s deterrence mission against Russia.

On Thursday, Parliament approved sending a combat battalion with up to 1,000 Danish soldiers to Latvia, and both they and their equipment and vehicles will fill the roads this weekend, the Danish Defence Ministry said.

This means increased military traffic on country roads and motorways: for example, the Training Regiment in Aalborg has to move vehicles from North Jutland via Funen to Køge.

“It is a clear signal to the Baltic countries that we take their security situation seriously,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Thursday. 

The soldiers are expected to be ready to enter NATO command from the beginning of May, to help deter potential threats in the eastern part of Europe, which borders Russia.

According to Danish military, the increase in the number of Danish soldiers in Latvia is part of an already existing collaboration with the Baltic countries.

In recent years, Denmark has carried out various military missions and training exercises with the Baltic soldiers.

In addition to the vehicles and battalion group, Denmark has also supplied NATO with a surveillance aircraft, a frigate warship and mobile air defence radar.

Back in early March, Danish military established a temporary military area at Køge Harbour, where military material has previously been shipped.

Denmark is also increasing its military equipment and weapons contribution to Ukraine by 600 million kroner, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a briefing on Thursday after meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

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NATO

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?

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