The Danish ministry of defence is increasingly deploying its F-16 fighter jets to meet Russian military aircraft flying near, or even inside, Danish airspace, according to a report obtained by Berlingske newspaper from the Danish Defence Command, Forsvarskommandoen.
The report showed that the number of times that the F-16s have been activated to patrol Danish airspace has doubled from 21 in 2012 to 42 in 2013. And during the first eight months of 2014 that trend has continued with 38 deployments, the vast majority being due to approaching Russian aircraft.
“The news is yet another sign of shifting Russian foreign policy,” Johannes Nordby, a captain with the Defence Academy, told Berlingske. “The shift can lead to effects similar to those from the Cold War.”
“These are the poor diplomatic relations, the introduction of nuclear weapons Putin mentioned last week and the increased testing of the Danish defence readiness.”
May get worse
On June 15, a Russian military aircraft, part of a five-plane squadron, actually entered Danish airspace before leaving again two minutes later.
Nordby said that it cannot be ruled out that Russian aircraft will violate international treaties by increasingly penetrating Danish airspace – not only to gain information, but also to test how quickly the Danes can react.