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Mikser: Danish fighters are a sign of NATO collective defence

3. May 2014 - 16:38
Estonian defence minister Sven Mikser and Danish defence minister Nicolai Wammen with Danish Air Force personnell
Estonian defence minister Sven Mikser and Danish defence minister Nicolai Wammen with Danish Air Force personnell.
Minister of Defence Sven Mikser met his Danish counterpart Nicolai Wammen at Ämari Airbase today. The ministers discussed issues related to the Baltic Air Policing operation, the security situation in the Baltic Sea region and Estonian-Danish defence cooperation.

Mikser thanked Denmark for rapidly sending fighter planes to Estonia to take part in the Baltic Air Policing operation. “The Danish fighter aircraft that arrived in Estonia, like the allied ground and naval units sent to the Baltics, are a clear sign that NATO collective defence does work, and that the alliance is working vigorously to ensure the security of its members,” said Mikser.

Mikser noted that Estonia and Denmark have shared 20 years of exceptionally close defence-related cooperation and operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan. “The Danish fighters that have arrived in Estonia can be considered a true crown jewel of our cooperation,” Mikser said.

Wammen said that the participation of the Danish fighters in the Baltic Air Policing operation is part of solidarity among allies. “Upon meeting the Danish air force personnel, it was clear to me that they had been warmly received in Estonia and that they’re satisfied with the conditions at Ämari Airbase,” said Wammen.

Mikser and Wammen also toured the Ämari base, met Danish air force personnel and watched two F-16 fighters on a training sortie. The defence ministers also had lunch at the base dining facility with the Danish pilots and crew.

The four Danish Air Force F-16s started service at Ämari Air Force Base on 30 April, marking the expansion of the Air Policing Mission to a second base besides Lithuania’s Šiauliai. Besides the Danish fighters, Baltic airspace is currently patrolled by eight Polish MiG-29s and four British Typhoons, all based in Lithuania. That brings the total number of fighters policing the skies above the Baltics to 16 – four times more than the ordinary number.

Estonia and Denmark have had close defence ties since the 1990s, a decade during which Denmark expressed strong support for Baltic NATO accession and launched many cooperation projects aimed at developing the defence forces of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Danish instructors led the training of the joint Baltic infantry battalion BALTBAT, and Danes also trained the first Estonian peacekeepers; Estonian Defence Forces members served on their first foreign mission in 1995 in Croatia as part of the Danish unit. Denmark also coordinated the establishment of the Baltic Defence College, another joint institution, in Tartu in 1999.

In the 2000s, Danish instructors supported the development and training of Estonia’s 1st Infantry Brigade; since 2009 this formation has been affiliated with the Danish Division, which is the largest unit of the Danish Army. Estonian Defence Forces members have served alongside Danish units in Southern Afghanistan’s dangerous Helmand province.

Note: Attached is a photo gallery of the meeting of Estonian and Danish defence ministers and the tour of Ämari Airbase. kaitseminister-Nicolai-Wammenig-03-05-2014

More information:
Peeter Kuimet
Public Affairs Department of the Ministry of Defence
Ph. +372 717 0116, +372 56 56 41 88