“A very serious security situation” means more military assets need to be stationed in the waters on Europe’s eastern border.
Ten northern European states that make up the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) decided on Tuesday to activate a “defense clause” that allows the use of additional military assets to protect infrastructure in the Baltic Sea.
The move comes after several incidents in northern waters.
Additional “sea and air capabilities” would be deployed to the heart of the region to “support the protection of critical undersea infrastructure,” the defense ministers of the 10 countries said in a statement.
“This is the first time that the JEF has activated a defense clause,” they explained, indicating that their activities would begin “in early December.”
The JEF focuses on operational defense in Northern Europe and is a coalition of ten countries led by the United Kingdom. These include Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
Send a signal to Russia
“Around twenty warships will be stationed in the Baltic Sea, but also in areas of the North Atlantic, to take account of the security situation and better protect important underwater infrastructure,” said Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson on public broadcaster SVT.
He said strengthening military force was necessary to address “a very serious security situation in the world and particularly in our neighborhood.”
“We need to be able to carry out this type of operation to defend our vital infrastructure, but also to send a signal to Russia,” Jonson added.
JEF countries agreed in October to increase security in the Baltic Sea after a Finnish subsea gas pipeline was shut down due to a leak caused by “external” measures.
Finnish police eventually concluded that the damage had been caused by the anchor of a Chinese merchant ship that had left the area.
But this incident sparked speculation – and increased nervousness. In September 2022, the Nord Stream pipelines, which carry Russian gas across the Baltic Sea to Western Europe, collapsed amid a standoff with Moscow over the Ukraine war.
Source : www.euronews.com