Denmark calling up women for military service as it seeks to ‘avoid war’

World

Denmark is calling up women for military service as it seeks “to avoid war” in the face of Russian aggression.

It also plans to boost its defence spending by £4.4bn over the next five years “in a world where the international order is being challenged,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

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Like many countries in Europe, Denmark scaled back its military capabilities at the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.

But now with a major war just 1,000 or so miles from Copenhagen, things are changing.

“We are not rearming in Denmark because we want war, destruction, or suffering. We are rearming right now to avoid war and in a world where the international order is being challenged,” Frederiksen said.

While vast military aid for Ukraine, including a donation of F-16 fighter jets, has helped Denmark meet the NATO spending target, it has yet to invest in a major way in its own forces.

The plans include extending conscription service to 11 months from four months, and making service equal for all – meaning both men and women will be called up.

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Investments will cover land-based air defence systems and a heavy infantry brigade of up to 6,000 soldiers by 2028 which could be deployed as part of NATO’s emergency forces on high alert.

It comes as Russia has warned the West is “walking on the edge of the abyss” and the war could escalate beyond Ukrainian borders.

Speaking on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the actions of “one or two” NATO members could see the conflict spill over and become “out of control”.

She also said the West needed to give up on the idea of strategically defeating Russia.

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