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Major European Defense Agreement Sends Clear Message To Russia

Five Nordic states came together Thursday to reaffirm a common commitment to defense cooperation with states in the Baltic region, sending a message to Russia that increased intervention will be met with increased opposition.

Defense ministers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland signed a joint declaration, stating that “Russia’s actions are the biggest challenge to the European security. Russia’s propaganda and political maneuvering are contributing to sowing discord between nations, and inside organizations like NATO and the EU,” Reuters reports. The countries are preparing for possible attacks.

Part of the plan involves joint military exercises and exchange of key intelligence information, as well as industrial cooperation within the defense arena. According to the ministers, Russia will perceive this new cooperation as aggression, but this will not strike down their resolve. The agreement brings Sweden and Finland, not themselves NATO members, into the arena and stipulates that the exercises are to be held according to NATO standards. Finland directly borders Russia.

However, unlike NATO, the agreement does not contain a provision mandating common defense in the event of an attack. Something as extensive as commitment to common defense would have to be approved by each country’s respective legislative bodies.

Instead, the agreement was drawn up as a temporary NATO-like solution to Russia’s repeated violations of international law through border incursions, and most notably, Russia’s annexation of Crimea around a year ago. Baltic states with sizeable Russian minorities are raising the alarm at the prospect of further Russian intervention.

Additionally, Sweden has complained of airspace violations by two Russian war planes over the past year. In another incident, a Russian military jet surged into Swedish airspace and almost collided with a passenger plane. Russia denied that the two aircraft were anywhere near each other, citing a distance of 43 miles between the two. Finland has also reported the presence of Russian aircraft in Finnish airspace three times in a single week.

The United States, another NATO member, recently wrapped up Operation Dragoon Ride. The operation displayed the rapid mobility of 120 armed vehicles, which were accompanied by 500 troops, through Eastern Europe, in an effort to let Putin know that the U.S. military can assemble just as quickly as Russia if necessary.(RELATED: Longest US Army Troop Movement In Europe Since Patton Sends Message To Putin)

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.



 

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