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.

Danish F16 fighter jets demonstrate the interception of a Belgian air force transport plane as they fly over Denmark, January 14th, 2020
Danish F16 fighter jets demonstrate the interception of a Belgian air force transport plane as they fly over Denmark, January 14th, 2020 as part of NATO drills to deter Russian planes from entering allied airspace. Photo: Johanna Geron/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

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.


Member comments

  1. It is incidents like this that forces neutral countries to consider joining NATO even my own country of Ireland is talking about joining the alliance and we see Sweden and Finland feel threatened by Russia.

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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.

Denmark begins largest military deployment in 23 years

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.