Northern European Nations to Boost Military Cooperation Against Russia

8 northern European nations decide to strengthen defense cooperationEight northern European nations agreed on Thursday to step up cooperation to counter an increase in Moscow’s military activity that has included a tripling of NATO intercepts of Russian jets this year.

Defense ministers from Nordic and Baltic states and Britain agreed to do more to share intelligence and widen cross-border air force training in the Nordic region after the crisis in Ukraine raised East-West tensions.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said Russia was “regularly flouting the rules of international aviation” and intimidating nations by sending jets as far as Ireland and Portugal. . . .

He said Britain was offering to extend a mission by its Typhoon jets to help police Baltic airspace in 2015 and that the northern European nations wanted to share more intelligence and data about Russian military activity.

Norwegian Defense Minister Inger Eriksen Søreide said all the ministers “agree that Russia’s actions (in Ukraine) are totally unacceptable and violate fundamental principles of international law. . . .”

Among the new plans, she said that existing air force training cooperation between Finland, Sweden and Norway would be extended to Denmark and cover all Nordic airspace. NATO would work to help Baltic nations improve their military capacities.

Image: 8 northern European nations decide to strengthen defense cooperation (photo: Finnish Ministry of Defense)