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Denmark to raise military spending, citing Russian threat
January 13, 2017 / 4:17 PM / 9 months ago

Denmark to raise military spending, citing Russian threat

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - NATO member Denmark plans to increase military spending in response to Russian missile deployments in the Baltic region that it perceives as a threat, its new defence minister said in an interview published on Friday.

Denmark's Finance Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen speaks to reporters at after a hearing in the parliamentary financial committee about the custom control agreement at the Christianborg Palace in Copenhagen June 10, 2011. REUTERS/Marie Hald/Scanpix

But Claus Hjort Frederiksen said that despite pressure from allies including incoming U.S. President Donald Trump, Denmark was not able to meet the NATO defence spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

“We are under great pressure from both the current Obama administration and, from what we understand, the incoming president Trump to live up to the 2 percent target,” Frederiksen said. “I would say it is not a realistic (target to reach).”

His comments feed into a contentious debate about burden-sharing in NATO, fuelled by Trump’s assertions that U.S. allies are not contributing enough for their own defence and Washington is paying a disproportionate amount. Denmark spent about 1.2 percent of GDP on defence in 2016.

Russia said in October that as part of routine drills it had moved ballistic nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and deployed its S-400 air missile defence system there.

”We can observe that the Russians now are deploying new missiles in Kaliningrad with a capability to reach Copenhagen.“ This is of course a serious risk,” Frederiksen told daily newspaper Berlingske.

Denmark last month offered to deploy 200 troops to a UK-led NATO mission in Estonia, and has said it plans to join a Europe-based missile defence system.

In March 2015, Russia’s ambassador to Denmark threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joined that programme.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Teis Jensen; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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