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Security situation analysis: currently most serious threat to Danish security in 30 years

Report from today’s press meeting concerning the Danish security situation and the new strategic 10-year security agreement with the Ukraine.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

For those who were here during the beginning of the COVID crisis in March 2020, the press meeting brought back memories of that first press meeting at the time with a very serious Danish Prime Minister explaining the threat to Danish citizens from this new unknown virus and the need to close down the country.

Today’s meeting was not less serious as the backdrop to the press meeting was the most serious threat to Danish security in more than 30 years.

Not since the end of the Cold War with the fall of the Soviet Union has Denmark and the democratic European countries been more threatened according to Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen. She was seconded by an equally serious Danish Defence Minister, Troels Lund Poulsen.

The aim of the press meeting was to inform about the new 10 Year security agreement with the Ukraine and the establishment of a Ukraine Help Fund to ensure long term military and civil support. The Danish security agreement comes after the latest agreements of the same kind between the Ukraine and the UK, France, and Germany amongst other.

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Denmark ranks high on the military contribution to the Ukraine both in real terms as well as in percentage of BNP, behind large donor countries such as the USA, UK, and Germany but far ahead of for instance France and Italy.

However, more is needed, and it is needed now, not tomorrow was the message. At the meeting the 15th aid package of DKK 1.8 billion was announced on top of the already DKK 33 billion given. In total, until 2028, Denmark will be contributing DKK 69 billion according to the security agreement.

Danish Prime Minister said that information shared amongst NATO partners shows an increased threat from Russia, both in terms of capability but also ability to launch attacks on other countries than the Ukraine.

“The Ukraine must win this war as if not, other countries are at risk”, were the repeated messages from both the Danish Prime Minister and the Danish Defence Minister.

During questioning time at the press conference, they were asked if Danish citizens should prepare for war (such as the Norwegian and Swedish Governments have said to their citizens) and to what extent there was an immediate threat to Denmark. In both Norway and Sweden citizens have been asked to stock supplies of food and drink for a week, as well as to have cash and fully loaded power banks in hand in order to withstand for instance cyber-attacks on key infrastructure for a short period of time.

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The Danish Prime Minister underlined that there is no immediate threat, and she will therefore not issue the same statement to Danish citizens as her Scandinavian colleagues have, however, her aim with the press conference was to be transparent and to make Danish citizens aware that the security situation has changed dramatically.

In short, that Denmark must prepare to strengthen its defence capabilities and to spend much more on the military – even more than the large defence package just recently passed.

Denmark has since the end of the Cold War greatly reduced spending on its miliary which is why the Danish military is badly in need of an overhaul and vastly increased spending.

Will Denmark need to spend more than the 2 percent of GDP (the NATO spending requirement) she was asked. “Yes”, she answered,” it will be expensive, but we must do it. It is eminently important that our defence spending and our military capabilities (Editor’s note: in Europe and NATO in general) become such that they can deter Putin from attacking other countries than the Ukraine.”

The aim of the security agreement is to show Russia that Denmark and other European countries are in it for the long term; to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression in a longer drawn-out war.

With the agreement, the European, other Western countries, want to send a strong signal to Russia, so Mette Frederiksen, that they are ready to stand with the Ukraine also in the long term.

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