Saturday

24th Feb 2018

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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table