We are responding to Russia's actions, says Danish ambassador to Estonia
Denmark is responding to Russia's actions on the Ukrainian border by strengthening its defense capabilities in the Baltic Sea, the Danish ambassador to Estonia has said.
On Monday, the Danish parliament agreed to send four additional F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania and a naval frigate with 160 crew members to patrol the Baltic Sea.
Ambassador Kristina Miskowiak Beckvard said the offer of additional forces was well received by NATO.
"There is very strong support in the Danish Parliament for all efforts in the Baltic Sea. Many times we have seen unity on this topic in Denmark and this is, of course, because we are talking about our own security interests too. We are talking about our own neighborhood," she told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday.
She said the step is needed to show NATO's unity and to counter Russia's aggressive actions near the Ukrainian border.
"We are currently seeing aggressive and threatening behavior from the Russian side and indeed actually since [the annexation of] Crimea in 2014, so we are maintaining our defense. We are only responding," the ambassador added.
Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) said the Danish proposal sends a strong message to Russia. Although Russia's goal is to divide the allies, Denmark's decision shows the opposite.
"Russia must understand that NATO and also its allies are ready to show solidarity if they decide to attack the Baltics," the minister said.
Laanet said negotiations are underway to enhance NATO's security forces on the eastern flank but could not give any more information.
Denmark, a NATO member, said the planes will be based at Siauliai in Lithuania along with its eight other fighters as part of the NATO Air Policing unit from the end of January. The frigate Peter Willemoes will set off in mid-January.
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Editor: Helen Wright