An unidentified Russian warship had violated Denmark’s territorial waters last Friday. According to reports, the Russian warship was spotted north of the Baltic Sea island Christiansø where the Democracy Festival of Denmark was being held.
“A Russian corvette last night violated Danish territorial waters twice. The incident took place north of Christiansø off Bornholm,” a Danish Armed Forces statement read.
This warship reportedly entered Danish waters at 0030 GMT on Friday. It apparently exited the Danish waters and entered again after a few hours according to the Danish Armed Forces. It exited for the final time after the Danish Navy contacted the Russian warship via radio.
“Later in the night, the same corvette again crossed the territorial boundary also north of Christiansø. After a call on civilian VHF radio from the Navy’s maritime response unit, the Russian ship immediately left Danish territorial waters,” they added.
As a result, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod summoned the Russian ambassador to answer for their trespass. Kofod also expressed his displease over the incident through Twitter.
“A Russian military vessel has twice violated Danish territorial waters last night. A deeply irresponsible, gross, and completely unacceptable Russian provocation in the middle of #fmdk,” he tweeted.
“Bullying methods do not work against Denmark. Russian Ambassador urgently summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he added.
He further added through a statement that the Danish government had communicated very clearly to the Russian ambassador that these actions were “completely inadmissible” and that Denmark would not accept these Russian provocations.
Interestingly, the Russian warship would enter Danish territory while the annual Democracy Festival of Denmark was being held nearby. The festival was reportedly attended by senior government officials including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Kofod. This makes the incident more noteworthy as Russia seems to be posturing up against the Danish government. While no immediate threat was reported against the nearby Danish islands, Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov stated that they must accept that the Baltic Sea is becoming a “high-tension area.”
The Russian Embassy in Copenhagen later responded to their ambassador being summoned regarding what they describe to be “alleged” entry into the sea of Denmark. They would go on to state that there was no evidence linking them to the incident, and that no coordinates of the Russian warship sailing into Danish maritime territory were ever presented.
These tensions come after Ukraine claims to have struck a naval tugboat named the “Vasily Bekh” last Friday. It was determined that two Western-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles were the munitions used to hit the tugboat. It was hit by the Ukrainian Armed Forces as it was reportedly carrying weapons, ammunition, and soldiers to the Zmiinyi Island, otherwise known as the “Snake Island.” It was also revealed that a Tor-M2KM air defense system was onboard.
The island would become famous for the “Go f*ck yourself” response of a Ukrainian border guard who was ordered to surrender by Russian forces aboard the Russian Black Fleet flagship, the Moskva, which was also sunk by the Ukrainian Armed Forces using Neptune anti-ship missiles.
Ukrainian TB2 UCAV footage showing two missile strikes reportedly on the Russian Vasily Bekh rescue ship that was carrying a Tor-M2KM air defense system that was headed to Snake Island. https://t.co/yglG0gwQlA pic.twitter.com/0Hph0cUhQK
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 17, 2022
The reason why the sinking of the Vasily Bekh is connected to Denmark is that the Danes had supplied Ukraine with Harpoon anti-ship missiles last May. Copenhagen had donated truck-mounted Harpoon launchers along with the missiles to strengthen its defensive efforts against the Russian ships currently blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea access.
The US had also donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Ukraine last May. The Biden Administration just very recently announced that it was giving Ukraine another $1 billion in military aid together with an additional $225 million for humanitarian assistance. This military aid package reportedly includes two vehicle-mounted launchers for Harpoon anti-ship missiles, reportedly procured using the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds. However, do not expect these vehicle-mounted launchers to be seen in Ukraine anytime soon as the Pentagon is still in the process of purchasing them. Furthermore, Ukrainian troops will have to be trained on how to use these vehicle-mounted launchers.
Also included in the package are 18 155mm howitzers, 36,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, 18 vehicles to tow the 155mm howitzers, ammunition for the HIMARS, radios, and night vision devices, among others.
Russia has had a string of violating a sovereign country’s territory over the past few months aside from Ukraine. Last May, a Russian spy plane was detected over Danish and Swedish airspace. Interestingly, the spy plane reportedly flew around Bornholm, the same area where the Russian warship entered, then toward Swedish airspace. The two countries did not take these intrusions lightly amid heightened tensions over their invasion of Ukraine.
Russia should take its steps of aggression in Europe very seriously as Denmark is a NATO member-state and as such is covered by Article V. Sweden along with Finland has also formally applied for NATO membership, leaving Russia very isolated in Europe. Lastly, it also leaves the Kremlin quite vulnerable to a NATO response should Russia attack Denmark as its efforts are focused on Ukraine. However, we should not see any type of military response from NATO as it does practice restraint with its powers.