Russia Threatens Denmark Warships with Nuclear Weapons

By Faye Higbee

Last August, Denmark told NATO that they would participate in the US-led nuclear defense shield by allowing their ships with radar capacity to be a part of the missile shield. Russia doesn’t approve of the missile shield. Their ambassador to Denmark made threatening remarks in a recent interview to show their displeasure.


A Danish Naval warship


Grumpy Russian Bear

The Copenhagen Post stated that in an interview with the newspaper  Jyllands-Posten, Mikhail Vanin, Russian ambassador to Denmark, told the reporter that the Danes did not fully understand the consequences of joining the shield.

“If that happens, Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles.” He went on to say that Denmark would become “part of the threat to Russia and relations with Russia will be damaged.” He warned that joining the US-led defense shield was “Denmark’s decision,” but the country would “lose both money and security.”

The response

Was that an official Russian stance or was he just blowing smoke? They want to threaten to target Danish warships because of their participation in a US-led defense shield? Maybe the ambassador was sipping too much vodka, but the threats aren’t new. Russia has previously tried to intimidate NATO members who wanted to join the effort- Poland and Romania are cases in point.

At any rate, his remarks drew immediate response from both NATO and Danish officials.

“We have made clear that NATO’s ballistic missile defense is not directed at Russia or any country, but is meant to defend against missile threats. This decision was taken a long time ago, so we are surprised at the timing, tone and content of the statements made by Russia’s ambassador to Denmark…Such statements do not inspire confidence or contribute to predictability, peace or stability.” Oana Lungescu, NATO spokeswoman

“This is obviously unacceptable. Russia knows very well that NATO’s missile defense system is defensive. We disagree with Russia on many important things, but it is important that the tone between us remains as positive as possible.” Martin Lidegaard, Danish Foreign Minister

No missiles are scheduled to be placed on Danish land under the defense system, but could one day be deployed in the future to Greenland, which belongs to Denmark. NATO has noted increased tensions between Russia and the Nordic States after more interactions with Russian aircraft and ships have taken place.

It is always wise to remember who Russia is underneath all the rhetoric, threats, and bluster – a bear. 

“[Sometimes I think] our bear should probably just sit quietly and just eat honey instead of hunting animals, maybe then they will leave the bear in peace, but, no, they will not. What they are trying to do is chain the bear, and when they chain the bear they will take out his fangs and claws. This is how nuclear deterrence is working at the moment. If they take out the bear’s fangs and claws, then the bear will not be able to do anything. It will just be a stuffed animal.” Vladimir Putin 2014