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UKRAINE

Ukrainian soldiers to train in Denmark

Ukraine has accepted an offer to train soldiers within Denmark’s borders, Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov confirmed in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Ukrainian soldiers to train in Denmark
Danish Defence Minister Morten Bødskov during a press conference after his meeting with Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Warsaw, Poland, 12th September 2022. Photo: Mateusz Marek/EPA/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark will train Ukrainian soldiers on its territory, the minister said on Tuesday, as it steps up its support to Kyiv’s army against the Russian invasion.
 
The Ukrainian soldiers could arrive before the year is out, Bødskov said, but declined to specify how many soldiers and where they might be based in Denmark.
Denmark isn’t the only country that will play host to Ukrainian soldiers in training — other EU member states are running similar programs, Bødskov said, and Denmark will contribute 130 officers to a training effort in the UK this autumn.

The Danish programme appears to be similar to that in Britain where the government in London has begun training up to 10,000 inexperienced Ukrainian military recruits since July.
 
“There will be training in Denmark. I cannot give more details but the Ukrainian army will be training in Denmark,” Bødskov told news wire Ritzau during a visit to Kyiv.
Like other Western countries, Denmark promised in August to send instructors to Britain to support the British initiative, with 130 officers.
 
But the preparation to train soldiers on Danish territory is an increase of the European Union and NATO member country’s support for Ukraine.
 
A Ukraine donors’ conference in Copenhagen of 26 countries last month pledged 1.5 billion euros in more aid for training and
equipment for Kyiv’s forces.
 
And Danes voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in June to join the EU’s common defence policy 30 years after opting out.
 
 
In recent days, Ukraine has recaptured several territories including dozens of areas in the northeast in a lightning counter-offensive against Russian forces.
 
As Kyiv pushes forward, the Estonian prime minister and Lithuanian president on Tuesday called on Europe to step up military aid to Ukraine.
 
“Ukraine is showing how the power of morale and leadership can be as crucial as pure military force,” Estonian premier Kaja Kallas tweeted after a three-way call with French President Emmanuel Macron and Lithuanian leader Gitanas Nauseda.
 
“Our focus must now be on increased and speedy military aid — this takes Ukraine closer to victory.”
 
“Emphasized that Ukraine needs weapons to advance in its fight against Russian aggression. Western support must be scaled up,” Nauseda tweeted.

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MILITARY

Denmark to commence trial of suspected pirate

The trial of a suspected Nigerian pirate charged with endangering Danish soldiers sailing in the international waters of the Gulf of Guinea opened on Monday in a Copenhagen court.

Denmark to commence trial of suspected pirate

The man, who had to have his leg amputated because of the severity of the wounds he sustained in a gunfight with the Danish navy, has pleaded not guilty.

He faces up to one and a half years in prison if convicted.

The charges against the defendant relate to an incident on November 24th, 2021, when the Danish naval frigate Esbern Snare was patrolling international waters off the coast of Nigeria to protect merchant ships.

When the Danish sailors attempted to board a pirate vessel, a firefight ensued.

Danish prosecutors accuse the pirates of firing first.

At 6.57pm, a burst of gunfire was fired at the frigate’s helicopter. Another shot was fired 10 minutes later.

“The life of the personnel on board the helicopter was endangered,” according to the charge sheet.

The prosecution does not allege the defendant fired on the Danish sailors but has charged him, as a member of the alleged pirate gang, with “causing imminent danger to the lives of the Danish helicopter crew”.

At the opening of the trial, defence lawyer Jesper Storm Thygesen said his client should be acquitted, arguing that the Danish navy had fired first, Danish media reported.

Storm Thygesen also noted that the original charges against his client — piracy and attempted murder — had been downgraded.

“Now we have an indictment in which the charge has been reduced. This is of course because the prosecution has decided that it cannot prove attempted murder,” he told the court, according to broadcaster TV2.

The Nigerian was moved to Denmark because of his health — the first time the Scandinavian country has transferred a piracy suspect to its territory. It has no extradition agreement with the countries along the Gulf of Guinea coast.

Another three suspected pirates were detained after the gunfight but later released. Four others were killed during the clash and a fifth fell overboard, the Danish authorities said.

The Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 kilometres from Senegal to Angola, has been a troubled area for shipping companies.

In 2020, there were 115 skirmishes in the region, according to the Maritime Information Cooperation and Awareness Center.

That fell to 52 in 2021 and to 20 since the start of 2022.

READ ALSO: Denmark recalls frigate from Africa over Ukraine crisis

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