Wednesday

23rd May 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.

Sofia summit: EU leaders search for a Trump strategy

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" European Council Donald Tusk asked on Wednesday, as EU leaders were trying to come up with a reply to the US president's questioning of the transatlantic relationship.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  2. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  3. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  4. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  5. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  6. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  7. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  8. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK