Europe hasn't prioritised security enough and should take more responsibility, Danish PM warns

1 week ago 3

Europe has not prioritised its security enough for "many, many years", the Danish prime minister has warned.

Speaking from the NATO summit in Washington DC, Mette Frederiksen said the military alliance's European members need to step up their efforts to help Ukraine and secure peace.

"Different American presidents have been putting the same message on the table - you have to do more, you have to take care of your own security, you have to bring bigger commitments," she told Sky's diplomatic editor Dominic Waghorn.

"I have to say I agree with them."

The Danish prime minister was asked about reports that Donald Trump could allow Russia to keep parts of Ukraine it has taken by force and commit to not expanding NATO eastwards if he is elected into the White House once again in November.

But she said there were "too many ifs" in this discussion and "no matter what will happen in the US, I think we have a lot of homework to do in Europe".

She continued: "We have to be honest that we have not prioritised security for many, many years. We need to pay more attention to our responsibility as Europeans."

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Part of this, she said, involves providing more support to Ukraine as it battles to stave off Russia's invasion.

The full-scale invasion began in 2022 and Russia now controls large swathes of eastern and southern Ukraine - in total, about 18% of the country.

Moscow appears to have had the upper hand in recent months, advancing north of Ukraine's second-biggest city Kharkiv and earlier this week launching a deadly attack on the capital which hit a children's hospital and killed at least 36 people.

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Russian strike hits children's hospital

Ms Frederiksen said the situation on the battlefield is "terrible" and the "main focus" for European leaders should be to provide Ukraine with weapons and ammunition.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway agreed to supply about 80 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Waghorn asked whether this would make enough of a difference, given Russia has more than 800 fighter jets and warplanes at its disposal.

The prime minister said it was "totally right" that Ukraine needs more, saying: "All weapons are better used in Ukraine than in our own countries.

"When it comes to air defence, I would rather see Patriot systems in Ukraine than in the western part of NATO."

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She was also questioned on whether Europe is doing enough currently to fill the vacuum that could be left behind if the US pulls out of NATO, which is feared could happen if Trump becomes president again.

Ms Frederiksen said leaders are not doing enough now, "but we can if we want to".

"I don't see an alternative to speeding up and scaling up," she said. "I don't see an alternative to Ukraine winning this war. If we allow Russia [to win] then we give in on everything we have worked for since the end of the Second World War."

She added allies need to "stick to the strategy" of arming and supporting Ukraine "for as long as it takes".

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On what the end game of the war should be, and whether that needed to involve forcing Russia out of Ukraine completely, she said: "For me the end game is peace, prosperity and freedom in Europe. It is only up to Ukraine to define what that means to Ukraine.

"When countries say let's just give Putin some part of the country, I think they should ask themselves whether they would think about their country in that way."

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Biden's health overshadows summit

Ms Frederiksen also addressed concerns about US President Joe Biden's health following days of speculation about his mental wellness.

"He is in good shape, I trust him, he is a good ally and I think he is a good leader," she said.

She insisted Denmark has "good cooperation" with the US president and that "the only one really happy with all these discussions is probably Putin".

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