Russia has warned Denmark that if it joins Nato’s missile defense shield, its Warships would become legitimate targets for a Russian nuclear attack.
Russia doesn’t believe Nato’s missile defense system is defensive at all, and sees it as targeting Russia and her interests.
The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, said in a report to Jyllands-Posten newspaper: “I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defense shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles.”
He went on to say: “Denmark would be part of the threat against Russia. It would be less peaceful and relations with Russia will suffer. It is, of course, your own decision – I just want to remind you that your finances and security will suffer. At the same time Russia has missiles that certainly can penetrate the future global missile defense system.”
The Telegraph reports: Denmark’s Foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, reacted strongly to the comments, calling the ambassador’s statement “unacceptable”. “If that is what he has said, then it is unacceptable. Russia knows full well that Nato’s missile defence is defensive and not targeted at (Russia). “We disagree with Russia on many important issues, but we also cooperate, for example, in the Arctic and it is important that the tone between us does not escalate,” said Mr Lidegaard.
The ambassador’s statements came shortly after Denmark’s military published details of encroachments or near-encroachments of Danish airspace. The military said that it had scrambled its F-16 squadrons 58 times in 2014 to head off Russian aircraft, twice the number counted in 2012. Russian military aircraft have the habit of switching off their transponders as they approach the western Baltic in a manoeuvre that is seen as dangerous to civilian air traffic, but prevents them being identified other than by sight.
Mr Vanin’s statements also come eight months after Denmark announced it would take part in Nato’s missile defence system. Denmark has said that it will install special radar systems on one or more of its frigates, in order to become an integral part of the system.
But Nicolai Wammen, the Defence minister, has been at pains to calm Russia, saying that the move is not targeted at Russia, but at “rogue states, terrorist organisations and others who would have the capacity to fire missiles at Europe and the United States”.
Nevertheless, Mr Vanin made it clear that Russia feels that NATO is encroaching on its borders. “Denmark is a small country with a small army. OK – you are part of Nato, but a very small part. Moscow will not appreciate you joining the missile defence system – or any of the other countries that take part. It will escalate a situation that is already tense and will make things even worse,” he said.
“I cannot imagine the Cold War coming back again; but there are some who feel that Nato is moving closer and closer to the Russian border and strengthening its position. That creates insecurity in Russia,” he added.
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