Danish Government Puts 'Baltic' Battalion on Standby for NATO Eastern Flank
The Scandinavian country's Defence Minister Morten Bødskov suggested that the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania need a “particularly marked presence” in addition to allied troops already present on a rotating basis, and said Denmark was waiting for a formal request from NATO.
Denmark has prepared an entire battalion to bolster NATO's eastern flank and is ready to deploy it, should the alliance request it, the country's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has announced.
“We are ready to do even more. Therefore, the government will offer to send a battalion of about 800 men to the Baltics”, Frederiksen said, citing threats to Europe's security following Russia's special operation in Ukraine.
The battalion in question was assembled in the town of Slagelse in Zealand in early February in response to the deteriorating security situation in Europe.
White NATO has not specifically asked for reinforcements yet, Mette Frederiksen expects that they will be needed.
“It is clear that we wouldn't not start the work if we didn't have an expectation that we will make use of the decision that has been made,” Mette Frederiksen mused.
“We are awaiting a formal request from NATO. If it comes, we are ready,” Defence Minister Morten Bødskov told Danish Radio, suggesting that the Baltic countries will need a “particularly marked presence”.
Denmark is already present in the Baltics, where more than 200 soldiers are serving as part of NATO's advanced presence in Estonia. In addition, there are Danish F-16 aircraft stationed in Lithuania and Danish envoys at NATO's Divisional Headquarters in Latvia.
Later this week, the Danish Foreign Policy Board, an advisory body where most of the parliamentary parties are represented, is expected to present its resolution on further deployments to bolster Denmark's contribution to NATO's collective defence. Among others, the future assistance includes a frigate, a surveillance jet, and an air defence radar, as well as support troops.
Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February, after an appeal from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, who have been suffering amid an eight-year-long war for independence, sparked by Ukraine's February 2014 coup. President Vladimir Putin listed Russia's goals as protecting the people of Donbass and "demilitarising and de-Nazifying" Ukraine.
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