Thursday

24th Aug 2017

Russia calls selective Baltic security talks

  • Nato warship the USS Cook was harassed by Russian jets in the Baltic Sea earlier this year (Photo: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa)

Russia has invited experts from most Baltic countries, but not Denmark and Germany, for talks on regional security.

"I can confirm, that we have received an invitation and that similar invites were also sent to other countries - Poland, the Baltic states and Finland," Sweden’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, told Swedish radio station Ekot on Wednesday (17 August).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom and her Finnnish counterpart Timo Soini at a Nato foreign minister's meeting in May. (Photo: Nato)

Russia's deputy minister of defence, Anatoly Antonov, who is on an EU blacklist over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, earlier told the Tass news agency that the meeting would take place in Moscow in September and that ”despite differences of opinion, Russia is ready for constructive conversations about common issues”.

He said the meeting would cover the military-political situation in Europe, increased military movements near borders, and regional flight security.

According to Nato, Russia has built up a force of more than 300,000 troops on its Western borders, together with new air bases, naval assets and nuclear-capable short-range missiles.

In the two years after its Ukraine invasion, it has held dozens of unannounced military exercises, some involving movements of more than 100,000 soldiers at a time.

It has also violated Nato states’ airspace in the Baltic region.

Danish military jets, for instance, were activated 98 times to respond to Russian airspace incursions in 2014 and 2015.

The Danish military has only once had to intercept Russian jets in Denmark’s air space since the start of 2016.

But with Denmark not invited to Moscow, the Swedish defence minister told the radio station that he could not guarantee Swedish participation either.

"For us it is very important that the countries situated around the Baltic are acting collectively on this kind invitation,” he said.

United Nordic front on Russia

The Swedish and Finnish foreign ministers, who were meeting in Stockholm on Wednesday, also discussed the Russian initiative.

"I think in general these kinds of contacts and negotiations should be on a wider scale," Finnish foreign minister Timo Soini said at a press conference in Stockholm.

"Above all we'll discuss with other countries who received invites and decide what this is all about," added Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallstroem. "We won't allow a wedge to be driven between countries."

The three Baltic states, Denmark, Germany, and Poland are all EU and Nato members.

Finland and Sweden are in the EU but not in Nato. They have started to build closer Nato ties as well as closer US defence ties since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, however.

Baltic Sea safety

Nato deputy head Alexander Vershbow wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper, on Tuesday that it was “hard to think of a period, at least since the end of the Cold War, when relations [with Russia] have been as strained as they are today”.

His opinion piece noted that the last time Nato officials met their Russian counterparts, in Brussels in July, Russia had made a “welcome but narrow proposal on air safety in the Baltic Sea”.

But he said the large-scale military drills and false claims by Russian officials must end for ties to improve further.

Feature

Nato summit forges united front on Putin

Nato's weekend summit was "not so pleasant” for “Mr Putin”, Lithuania said, but the event also exposed Poland's bitter divisions.

'I thought I was safe in Europe'

Arrest of Turkish dissident has again highlighted the way rogue regimes use Interpol to hunt their enemies inside the EU.

'Killer robots' are not about Terminator

A European signatory of an open letter about autonomous weapons says the imagery of fictional killer robots is distracting from a seriously dangerous issue.

News in Brief

  1. Air Berlin insolvency talks begin amid 'stitch-up' accusation
  2. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  3. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  4. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  5. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger
  6. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  7. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  8. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference