Posts Tagged ‘Baltic’

Sweden to raise military budget by SEK 6 billion through 2020: Swedish Radio

August 16, 2017

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s center-left minority government said on Wednesday it had agreed with two opposition parties to boost military spending in the 2018 budget as the country faces increased tension with Russia in the Baltics.

Sweden’s armed forces will get around 2 billion crowns ($250 million) extra in the 2018 budget and around 6 billion crowns during the 2018-2020 period in the deal between the Social Democrat and Green party coalition and the opposition Moderate and Centre parties, Swedish Radio reported.

Image result for sweden military, photos

Sweden’s military has said it needs the money to rebuild its strength after years of under investment and greater demands on its operational capabilities.

The armed forces called for 9 billion crowns in extra spending during 2017-2020 period.

Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist will hold a press conference later on Wednesday.

The budget for 2018 – an election year – will be presented on Sept. 20.

Sweden has reintroduced conscription and restored troops to the strategically key Baltic island of Gotland as it looks to bolster its defenses.

It has also been drawing closer to NATO, although the government has ruled out becoming a member of the alliance.

Reporting by Johan Sennero; Editing by Simon Johnson and Toby Chopra

Image result for sweden military, photos

‘We must protect common values’ says Trump in Warsaw

July 6, 2017

France 24 and Reuters

© Saul Loeb, AFP | US President Donald Trump in front of the Warsaw Uprising Monument on Krasinski Square in Poland on July 6, 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-06

U.S. President Donald Trump described Poland as an exemplary ally in building defences to counter Russian “destabilising behaviour”, while appearing to encourage Polish defiance towards the European Union.

Trump, en route to a potentially fractious G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, urged western NATO allies in Europe to spend more on defence, drawing a comparison with Poland which meets the agreed target of two percent of annual economic output.

The brief visit to Warsaw was billed as an opportunity for him to patch up relations with European allies after a tense alliance summit in May.

Trump said the United States and Poland shared similar values.

“We’ve discussed our mutual commitment to safeguarding the values at the heart of our alliance: freedom, sovereignty and the rule of law,” he said in a joint press conference after meeting Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“We are working with Poland in response to Russia’s actions and destabilizing behaviour. And we are grateful for the example Poland has set … by being one of the few nations that actually meets its (NATO’s) financial obligations.”

The Kremlin said it disagreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s assessment of Russia’s behaviour as destabilising. Trump is due to meet President Vladimir Putin for the first time on the sidelines of the Hamburg meeting.

Poland and east European allies have expressed deep concern at Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, as well as Russian military activity around its borders. Russia argues that this is a response to Western buildup.

Since winning an election in 2015, Poland’s eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party has faced criticism from its western European peers over what some call an authoritarian tilt and its opposition to accepting Muslim migrants.

It shares views with Trump on issues such as migration, climate change and coal mining, and has long said Brussels institutions should give back some power to national governments.

European Union

Later on Thursday, Trump was slated to condemn “the steady creep of government bureaucracy” and praise the sovereignty of nations in a speech at a Warsaw square, according to excerpts released by the White House.

“The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies,” he will say, according to the White House.

Trump did not mention the EU by name in this context but he has been critical of the EU in the past.

“We must work together to counter forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.”

The White House had said Trump would use the stopover in Warsaw to showcase his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which he once called “obsolete”, bemoaning allies’ repeated failure to meet the two percent target.

He had unnerved allies in May, not least those in the east concerned about Russia’s more assertive military posture, by failing to explicitly endorse the principle of collective defence enshrined in the NATO treaty. He made no explicit reference to that article in his comments.

Duda for his part said he believed Trump took Poland’s security seriously.

In Warsaw, Trump was also meeting other central European leaders as well as heads of state from the Balkans and Baltic states, gathered for a so-called Three Seas summit of countries on the Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas.

http://www.france24.com/en/20170706-trump-warsaw-common-values-threats-nato-eu-russia-north-korea

President Trump Poland Speech in Warsaw at Krasinski Square – July 6th, 2017 (Video) — “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

July 6, 2017

Available athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rZqffnba_o

Donald Trump says West must show ‘the will to survive’ in face of threats from Russia and North Korea 

President Donald Trump gives speech in Poland
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By  James Rothwell and 

Donald Trump has warned that the West must decide if it has the “will to survive” in the face of threats from North Korea and Russia at a speech in Warsaw on Thursday.

“We have to remember that our defence is not just a community of money, it is a community of will,” Mr Trump said.

“As the Polish experience reminds us, defence of the west rests not only on means but the will of people to prevail.

“The fundamental question is whether the West has the will to survive,” he added.

“Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders?” If we do not have strong values we will be weak and we will not survive.”

The US and Polish presidents give a joint press conference
The US and Polish presidents give a joint press conference

Europe-US bond is stronger than ever

“The transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever, and maybe in many ways, even stronger,” said Mr Trump as he extolled the virtues of the Polish people.

In a lengthy speech which recounted Poland’s struggles under Nazi occupation and Communism, Mr Trump said the European country was a powerful “symbol of freedom.”

His remarks came despite a string of spats with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, over her refugee policy and the trade deficit with Germany.

Donald Trump meets Polish President

‘Our enemies are doomed’

“If left unchecked these forces will weaken our will to defend ourselves,” Mr Trump said in reference to threats from Russia and North Korea, which earlier this week test launched an intercontinental-ballistic missile.

“We know these forces are doomed to fail if we want them to fail and we do indeed want them to fail. They are doomed because our alliance is strong and our power is unmatched,” he said.

“Our adversaries are doomed because we will never forget who we are,” added Mr Trump, alluding to the US and the European allies’ joint efforts against Nazism and  later Soviet rule.

US President Donald Trump holds a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
US President Donald Trump holds a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart at the Royal Castle in Warsaw

Get going on spending obligations, Nato allies told

It comes after Mr Trump gave a joint press conference on Thursday morning in which he said it was time for all Nato countries to “get going” on their financial obligations during a speech in Warsaw.

In the same speech he sought to reassure eastern European nations such as Poland by vowing to tackle Russia’s “destabilising” behaviour.

He also said he would confront the threat of North Korea, which test launched an inter-continental ballistic missile as part of its nuclear weapons programme early this week, “very strongly.”

Other countries must also make a stand to North Korea to show there are consequences for “bad behaviour,” he added.

Excerpts of the speech showed Mr Trump also planned to say that “the Polish experience reminds us – the defence of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Trump will say, according to excerpts.

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda
U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda

Russia ‘could have’ interfered with election

Mr Trump admitted that Russia may have interfered in the US election while taking questions from the media.

“I think it was Russia and I think it could have been other people in other countries,” he said.

US intelligence agencies concluded in January that Moscow tried to tilt the November presidential election to Mr Trump’s favour, including by hacking into and leaking the emails of senior Democrats.

Moscow has always denied the allegation.

In this June 30, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington
In this June 30, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington

Poland: This trip shows our country matters

Donald Trump’s high-stakes trip to Europe, where he faces a prickly G20 meeting and animosity from traditional US allies, kicked off on a comforting note Thursday – in front of a friendly crowd bussed in by his sympathetic Polish hosts.

Air Force One touched down in Warsaw late Wednesday, for what is the US president’s second foreign outing after a European tour in May that exposed fierce mistrust.

“This is the second foreign visit by president Trump and it starts in Poland. This shows we are a country that matters and it strengthens our position in the European Union,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda, who will meet the US leader today.

The US president’s four-day swing starts in Warsaw, where he will deliver a major speech, before moving on to the northern German city of Hamburg for his first G20 summit, where tricky geopolitical currents – from rumbling transatlantic discord to increasingly difficult ties with China – will converge.

Looming large over the entire visit is Pyongyang’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear payload to Alaska.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Tough-talking Trump had previously vowed North Korea would not be allowed to possess an ICBM, and leaders from rival and allied powers alike will be watching closely to see whether his threats were bluster or will crystallise into action.

After repeatedly urging Beijing to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea, Trump will hold what promises to be a testy meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg to trace the next steps.

“Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” Trump tweeted indignantly on Wednesday.

Air Force One touched down in Warsaw late on Wednesday
Air Force One touched down in Warsaw late on Wednesday

US will sell Patriot missiles to Poland

It came as the US agreed to sell Patriot missile defence systems to Poland in a memorandum signed on Wednesday night, Poland’s Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said.

“A memorandum was signed tonight that the U.S. government has agreed to sell Poland Patriot missiles in the most modern configuration,” Macierewicz said in a news conference broadcast on public television on Thursday morning.

“I am glad that I can pass on this information on the day of President’s Trump visit to Warsaw,” Macierewicz also said.

Related:

Trump in Poland: There are threats. We will face them. And we will win.

July 6, 2017

  • President Donald Trump met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
  • Trump later questioned if the West has the ‘will to survive’ in a landmark speech at Krasinski Square
  • He said North Korea would face ‘consequences’ and admitted Russia ‘could have’ interfered with the election
  • Trump’s visit to Warsaw comes before a journey to Germany for the G20 summit on Friday and Saturday

President Donald Trump spoke to thousands of cheering Poles in Warsaw on Thursday, calling their nation ‘the geographic heart of Europe’ and praising their countrymen for shaking off both Nazi oppressors and Russian occupiers in the last century.

‘That’s trouble. That’s tough,’ he exclaimed.

‘In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.’

Trump delivered his address in Krasinski Square, at the foot of a statue commemorating the 1994 Polish uprising against German occupiers. He and first lady Melania Trump laid a wreath at its base.

Speaking behind bulletproof glass, he said Poles are ‘a people who truly know the value of what you defend.’ 

President Donald Trump questioned if the West has the 'will to survive' in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday afternoon

President Donald Trump questioned if the West has the ‘will to survive’ in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday afternoon

Trump spoke in front of a crowd at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump spoke in front of a crowd at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump participates in a wreath laying ceremony before delivering a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

Trump participates in a wreath laying ceremony before delivering a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

Trump waves next to First Lady of the US Melania Trump, Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady of Poland Agata Kornhauser-Duda before Trump's public speech at Krasinski Square

Trump waves next to First Lady of the US Melania Trump, Polish President Andrzej Duda and First Lady of Poland Agata Kornhauser-Duda before Trump’s public speech at Krasinski Square

People cheer as Trump delivers his landmark speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

People cheer as Trump delivers his landmark speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle

Ahead of his speech on Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump welcomed the crowd and introduced her husban

Ahead of his speech on Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump welcomed the crowd and introduced her husban

He urged them to uphold ‘a future in which good conquers evil.’

They chanted ‘USA, USA’ and ‘Donald Trump! Donald Trump!’

Trump had earlier met the Polish president and warned that the future of the West is in doubt.

In his speech he praised Poland’s ‘will to survive’ because they ‘have never, ever forgotten who they are.’

‘The Polish experience reminds us – the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,’ Trump said.

‘Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken,’ he said.

And Trump projected his fight against Middle Eastern terrorism onto the template of Poland’s historic struggles, saying that ‘We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail.’

‘America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We are going to get it to stop,’ he said.

The president urged European nations to commit more of its money to NATO, as he said the organization’s ‘Article 5’ commitment to mutual defense is an ironclad guarantee.

‘Words are easy but actions matter,’ he said.

At a press conference following his private talks with Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea would face ‘consequences’ for its intercontinental ballistic missile test.

He also admitted that Russia ‘could have’ interfered with the 2016 election and vowed to work with Poland on addressing threats from the country.

Trump’s whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes just days before he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin. He will next travel to Germany for Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit.

Trump’s appearance alongside the Polish president will go down badly in Russia

Trump’s visit was coordinated with the Three Seas Initiative which is a new 12-nation trade and economic bloc organized in part to limit Russia’s power, especially in ways that diminish its dominance in the region’s energy markets.

At a joint press conference between Trump and Duda, the US president called on the global community to ensure there are ‘consequences’ for Pyongyang’s belligerence and warned that he is considering a ‘severe’ response.

‘I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior,’ Trump said.

‘I have pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,’ he said, but added: ‘That doesn’t mean that we’ll do them.’

Trump later said that he was working with Poland on addressing threats from Russia and reiterated his calls for NATO members to meet their financial obligations.

In a direct appeal to Russia, Trump said in his speech that Vladimir Putin’s country should ‘cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere.’

Duda for his part said he believed Trump took Poland’s security seriously.

‘We see ourselves as loyal partners who cooperate on a number of issues, among others on security,’ Duda told said at the news conference.

Trump said then that the country ‘could have’ interfered with the 2016 US presidential election which saw him take victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

President Donald Trump is set to question if the West has the 'will to survive' in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday

President Donald Trump is set to question if the West has the ‘will to survive’ in a landmark speech in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump held a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday after the pair had private talks

Trump held a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday after the pair had private talks

At a press conference following his private talks with Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea would face 'consequences' for its intercontinental ballistic missile test

At a press conference following his private talks with Andrzej Duda, Trump said North Korea would face ‘consequences’ for its intercontinental ballistic missile test

He also admitted that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and vowed to work with Poland on addressing threats from the country

He also admitted that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and vowed to work with Poland on addressing threats from the country

He added, however, that he’s not totally convinced that Russia was the sole meddler in the election, contrasting claims from US intelligence agencies who said the effort was directed by Putin and emanated from Moscow.

‘I think it was Russia, and it could have been other people in other countries,’ Trump said. ‘Nobody really knows.’

He added that US intelligence agencies have made mistakes in the past, so ‘nobody really knows for sure’.

The president sought to redirect any scrutiny toward his predecessor, Barack Obama, accusing him of allowing Moscow to meddle on his watch.

Though the Obama administration warned Russia publicly and privately before Election Day to stop interfering, questions have since been raised about whether he acted aggressively enough to stop the threat.

‘They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked,’ Trump said. ‘I think he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said, “Let’s not do anything about it”.’

Trump said the CIA had informed Obama about the hacking months before the election but added that ‘mistakes have been made.’.

He also took a question about a domestic tempest that developed this week over a video clip he tweeted on Sunday, depicting himself body-slamming a pro-wrestling mogul whose face was superimposed with CNN’s logo.

CNN quickly condemned the tweet and assigned a reporter to find out where the viral meme originated.

At a joint press conference between Trump and Duda, the US president called on the global community to ensure there are 'consequences' for Pyongyang's belligerence and warned that he is considering a 'severe' response

'I call on all nations to confront this global threat and publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior,' Trump said.

At a joint press conference between Trump and Duda, the US president called on the global community to ensure there are ‘consequences’ for Pyongyang’s belligerence and warned that he is considering a ‘severe’ response

Trump later said that he was working with Poland on addressing threats from Russia and reiterated his calls for NATO members to meet their financial obligations

Trump later said that he was working with Poland on addressing threats from Russia and reiterated his calls for NATO members to meet their financial obligations

Trump's whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes just days before he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin. He will next travel to Germany for Friday and Saturday's G20 summit

Trump’s whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes just days before he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin. He will next travel to Germany for Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit

Trump and Duda shook hands for photo ops several times on Thursday, including after their joint press conference

Trump and Duda shook hands for photo ops several times on Thursday, including after their joint press conference

By Thursday the network was under fire for allegedly threatening to reveal the name of a person it said created the video.

But CNN appears to have gotten it wrong, using the wrong version of the doctored footage as the basis for their interview with the unnamed man.

‘I think what CNN did is unfortunate for them,’ Trump said at the press conference. ‘As you know they have some pretty serious problems.

‘They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering me in a very, very dishonest way.’

Trump then turned to Duda and asked, ‘Do you have that also, Mr President?’, to which Duda shrugged.

‘What CNN did – and what others did, NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with The Apprentice but they forgot that,’ Trump said. ‘What I will say is that CNN has really taken it too seriously and I think they’ve hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly.

‘And what we want to see in the United States is honest, beautiful, free, but honest press. We want to see fair press.

‘I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news. By the way, not everybody is fake news. But we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. It’s very bad for our country.’

Trump talks with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, center right, as they arrive for a group photo prior to the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle, in Warsaw

Trump talks with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, center right, as they arrive for a group photo prior to the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle, in Warsaw

Trump talks to Duda as US  ambassador to Poland Paul W Jones looks on during the Three Seas Initiative Summit on Thursday 

Trump talks to Duda as US  ambassador to Poland Paul W Jones looks on during the Three Seas Initiative Summit on Thursday

Duda, center, speaks with Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as Trump makes a comment during the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle

Duda, center, speaks with Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as Trump makes a comment during the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle

The group who attended the initiative includes leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas nations and aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with the goal of reducing the region's dependence on Russian energy

The group who attended the initiative includes leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas nations and aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with the goal of reducing the region’s dependence on Russian energy

While at the Royal Castle, President Trump and Duda (not pictured) attended a meeting together

While at the Royal Castle, President Trump and Duda (not pictured) attended a meeting together

Following the press conference, Trump attended a meeting of the Three Seas Initiative.

The group includes leaders of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas nations and aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with the goal of reducing the region’s dependence on Russian energy.

While at the meeting, Trump pledged that the United States will never use energy to coerce eastern and central European nations, adding that the United States won’t allow other nations to coerce them either.

Trump said he’s proud that the region is benefiting from US energy supplies. Poland received a first shipment of liquefied natural gas from the United States last month.

Trump noted the region’s special significance to him. His wife, Melania, is a native of Slovenia, which belongs to the group.

He then claimed that everyone is benefiting from the thriving US economy except for him.

He bragged of recent stock market gains, but said: ‘Personally, I’ve picked up nothing.’

President Donald Trump is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda as he visits Poland during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw on Thursday

President Donald Trump is greeted by Polish President Andrzej Duda as he visits Poland during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw on Thursday

Poland's ruling party sees itself as a Euroskeptic regime along the lines of last year's Brexit movement in the United Kingdom

Poland’s ruling party sees itself as a Euroskeptic regime along the lines of last year’s Brexit movement in the United Kingdom

The US president's unapologetic brand of nationalism is seen as its idealized complement, aligning Washington and Warsaw in a push against a Berlin-dominated Europe

The US president’s unapologetic brand of nationalism is seen as its idealized complement, aligning Washington and Warsaw in a push against a Berlin-dominated Europe

Trump and Duda shook hands at the Royal Castle in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland

Trump and Duda shook hands at the Royal Castle in front of a white marble bust of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland

The leaders then retreated to a room decorated with red walls for their private talks, where they also posed for photos

The leaders then retreated to a room decorated with red walls for their private talks, where they also posed for photos

Asked how he felt about the trip, Trump, who is on a whirlwind 16-hour trip in Poland said 'Great'

Asked how he felt about the trip, Trump, who is on a whirlwind 16-hour trip in Poland said ‘Great’

‘That’s all right,’ he said. ‘Everyone else is getting very rich. That’s OK. I’m very happy.’

Trump gave his two adult sons and a senior executive control of his global real estate, property management and marketing empire when he took office in January. But Trump did not divest his businesses.

Instead he placed his financial assets in a trust that he can seize control of at any time.

Busloads of Trump supporters were sent to Warsaw to see Trump speak on Thursday in Krasinski Square, where a monument stands to a 1944 popular uprising against German occupation.

In every corner of Poland, citizens were offered free transportation to Warsaw if they wanted to be a part of the Trump show.

They will hear the US president complain about ‘the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people’.

Trump will praise ‘the triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship’ in a landmark speech in Warsaw, the White House said Thursday morning.

Poland’s courage, according to excerpts from his address, ‘gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.’

Polish President Duda gave Trump a tour of the royal castle on Thursday ahead of their joint press conference

Polish President Duda gave Trump a tour of the royal castle on Thursday ahead of their joint press conference

Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump met with Poland's First Lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw

Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump met with Poland’s First Lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw

Trump's daughter, Ivanka, visited the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw on Thursday

Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, visited the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw on Thursday

‘I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization,’ Trump will say.

The words ‘courage,’ ‘will’ and ‘civilization’ were capitalized for emphasis in the snippets the White House sent to reporters.

Trump’s script calls for a united stand against ‘shared enemies’ – a reference to Islamic terrorists – ‘to strip them of their territory, their funding, their networks, and any form of ideological support’.

The United States is serious about the security of its ally Poland, Duda said on Wednesday after his meeting with Trump.

‘We see ourselves as loyal partners who cooperate on a number of issues, among others on security,’ Duda told the joint news conference. ‘I have a feeling that the United States is serious about Poland’s security.’

Trump has made a point of attacking what adviser Steve Bannon has derided as ‘the bureaucratic state,’ rolling back regulations that he says are choking free enterprise and dampening the American economy.

Trump will praise 'the triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship' in a landmark speech in Warsaw, the White House said Thursday morning

Trump will praise ‘the triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship’ in a landmark speech in Warsaw, the White House said Thursday morning

The two presidents met at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday morning head of Trump's landmark speech

The two presidents met at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Thursday morning head of Trump’s landmark speech

Thursday's joint appearance with Duda at Warsaw's royal castle was originally billed as a press conference

Thursday’s joint appearance with Duda at Warsaw’s royal castle was originally billed as a press conference

Trump, like Poland's President Andrzej Duda, is aligned against the European Union's bureaucracies

Trump, like Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, is aligned against the European Union’s bureaucracies

‘The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies,’ Trump’s speech adds.

‘Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty.

‘We must work together to counter forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.’

Trump, like Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, is aligned against the European Union’s bureaucracies.

Flag-waving Poles lined Trump’s motorcade route on Wednesday night, but critics pointed out that the government had paid to bus in thousands from Poland’s far-flung provinces.

Duda’s government had reportedly promised his American counterpart a hero’s welcome as a condition of visiting Poland.

Like the Trump administration, Duda's government is staking its claim on a desire to limit the numbers of refugees it resettles even as European Union leaders press Warsaw to open its borders

Like the Trump administration, Duda’s government is staking its claim on a desire to limit the numbers of refugees it resettles even as European Union leaders press Warsaw to open its borders

rump will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw's Krasinski Square later in the da

Trump will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw’s Krasinski Square later in the da

The White House later described the meeting as  a 'press event', which raised concerns that Trump wouldn't be taking questions from reporters

The White House later described the meeting as  a ‘press event’, which raised concerns that Trump wouldn’t be taking questions from reporters

The pair met between flags of each nation before heading into a discussion about the European Union

The pair met between flags of each nation before heading into a discussion about the European Union

Poland’s ruling party sees itself as a Euroskeptic regime along the lines of last year’s Brexit movement in the United Kingdom.

The US president’s unapologetic brand of nationalism is seen as its idealized complement, aligning Washington and Warsaw in a push against a Berlin-dominated Europe.

Like the Trump administration, Duda’s government is staking its claim on a desire to limit the numbers of refugees it resettles even as European Union leaders press Warsaw to open its borders.

‘The Polish government has the same position as Americans – we want strict restrictions on refugees,’ legislator Krzysztof Mróz told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

‘While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism,’ Trump will say in his upcoming speech, the White House said Thursday morning.

Thursday’s joint appearance with Duda at Warsaw’s royal castle was originally billed as a press conference.

By Tuesday, however, the White House began describing it in advisories to reporters as a ‘press event’, raising concerns that Trump wouldn’t take reporters’ questions.

Trump (his motorcade pictured above) will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw's Krasinski Square

Trump (his motorcade pictured above) will speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw’s Krasinski Square

Trump's whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes on the front end of a journey to Germany for Friday and Saturday's G20 summit

Trump’s whirlwind visit to Warsaw comes on the front end of a journey to Germany for Friday and Saturday’s G20 summit

Trump arrives on a state visit at the Okecie Airport, Warsaw President Donald Trump visit to Poland on Wednesday

Trump arrives on a state visit at the Okecie Airport, Warsaw President Donald Trump visit to Poland on Wednesday

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive on a state visit at the Okecie Airport in Warsaw on Tuesday evening

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive on a state visit at the Okecie Airport in Warsaw on Tuesday evening

Also on the trip to Warsaw were Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner

Also on the trip to Warsaw were Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner

On Thursday morning the White House confirmed that the press conference would indeed include a Q&A from at least four journalists.

Trump’s ongoing media war has tended to overshadow talk of his domestic and foreign agendas, a condition he could ill afford as he launched his second diplomacy tour in six weeks.

Duda, too, rolled the dice by allowing American journalists to question his government’s clampdown on press freedoms in the last year.

Protesters blockaded the Polish parliament in December after the ruling Law and Justice party restricted the number of journalists allowed in the building and limited which TV networks could record proceedings there.

European Council President Donald Tusk quickly invoked the word ‘dictatorship’ to warn Duda, as his government blamed protesters for staging an ‘illegal attempt to seize power.’

Protesters shouted ‘Solidarity!’ – a throwback to the communist-era movement led by then-dissident trade unionist Lech Wałęsa, who later became president.

Unlike past US presidents, Trump did not meet with him in Poland. Duda’s right-wing government has sought to downplay Wałęsa’s role in Poland’s history.

Wałęsa, however, was in the crowd for Trump’s speech.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4670380/Donald-Trump-Poland-s-president-plot-against-EU.html#ixzz4m3RtF8RG
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Russia scrambles jet fighter to intercept U.S. bomber over Baltic Sea

June 6, 2017

Reuters

Tue Jun 6, 2017 | 6:51am EDT

A Russian Su-27 jet fighter intercepted a U.S. B-52 strategic bomber on Russia’s border over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, Russian news agencies quoted Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying.

The bomber was flying along the Russian border but over neutral waters, RIA cited the ministry as saying.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)

Still Think Putin is America’s Friend? Russia warns of nuclear war unless US backs down over missiles in Europe — Ready to close Black Sea

March 28, 2017

Russia has warned of nuclear war if US missiles carry on being shipped into Europe.

 

Pentagon missiles in Europe and warships patrolling Russia’s borders could lead to nuclear war, warned Vladimir Putin’s military bosses.The anti-ballistic missile system (ABM) is provoking a “new arms race” and scuppers Russia’s ability to defend itself from a nuke strike, they said.Russian military bosses warned the ABM “lowers the threshold for use of nuclear weapons” and increases the risk of “sudden nuclear attack”.

“The presence of the global ABM system lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, because it gives the US the illusion of impunity for using strategic offensive weapons from under the protection of the ABM ‘umbrella,’” said Viktor Poznikhir, top brass for the Russian general staff.
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He added: “The ABM shield is a symbol of the build-up of rocket forces in the world and a trigger for a new arms race.”

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Scientists previously warned the US’s new nuclear weapons could force Putin’s hand into a nuclear conflict.

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Russian leader Vladimir PutinGETTYVLADIMIR PUTIN: US President Donald Trump hopes to improve relations with Russia

Trump labels reports of his ties with Russia “fake news”

Poznikhir said: “The presence of American ABM sites in Europe and ABM-capable ships in the seas and oceans close to Russia’s territory creates a powerful clandestine potential for delivering a surprise nuclear missile strike against Russia.”US attempts to trump Russia and China are heighting the risk of nuclear war, the Kremlin warned.The stark warning came at a nuclear disarmament conference in Geneva.

Trump: ‘Vladimir Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama’

Poznikhir said the US missile shield “narrows down the opportunity for nuclear reduction dialogue”.He said the Pentagon is developing the missile system to face Iran and North Korea, but ignoring objections raised by Russia.Russia warns the US will have 1,000 missiles at its fingertips which could pose a threat to them by 2020.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/600613/Russia-Nuclear-War-US-Missiles-World-3-Vladimir-Putin-Donald-Trump-ABM-Shield-China-ICBMs

Warsaw court jails lawyer for spying for Moscow

March 20, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | A lawyer has been jailed in Poland for giving Russia information on a new liquefied natural gas terminal at Swinoujscie, whose port is pictured above, on the Baltic coast
WARSAW (AFP) – A Polish-Russian lawyer has been sentenced to four years in prison for spying for Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, a Warsaw court said Monday.The lawyer, a man with dual citizenship identified only as Stanislaw Sz. for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty at the trial held behind closed doors. He can appeal the verdict.

Judge Agnieszka Domanska said the man gave Russia information on Poland’s energy sector, in particular regarding a new liquefied natural gas terminal at Swinoujscie on the Baltic coast, according to the Polish news agency PAP.

He notably got hold of a secret report by the national audit chamber NIK on natural gas contracts and the launch last June of the Swinoujscie terminal, which Poland built to ease its dependence on Russian gas.

Poland currently relies on Russia for about forty percent of its gas, with a third coming from domestic sources and 20 percent from central Asia.

Stanislaw Sz. was arrested in October 2014, at the same time as a Polish officer, Zbigniew J., who was sentenced last year to six years in prison by the Warsaw military court for spying for Russia.

Their cases were related but the two men did not work together, according to Polish media reports.

Sweden is ‘preparing for war’ with Russia

December 15, 2016

Image may contain: 3 people, outdoor

Officials in Sweden have been ordered to ensure that they are ready for war as fears of a Russian invasion grow. Pictured are Swedish troops training

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4033994/Sweden-warns-preparing-war-Officials-ordered-ensure-civil-defence-infrastructure-ready-fear-Russian-invasion-grows.html#ixzz4Suu33ucV
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  • Officials in Sweden have been ordered to make sure they are ready for war 
  • The government says local authorities should be better prepared for aggression
  • Comes as fears of a Russian invasion in Sweden grow following annex of Crimea
  • But some have criticised the demands for war readiness calling them ‘unrealistic’ 

Officials in Sweden have been ordered to ensure that they are ready for war as fears of a Russian invasion grow.

The country’s Civil Contingencies Agency has sent out a letter to all local authorities telling them they must be better equipped to respond to the threat of war.

It is believed the letter was prompted by Sweden returning to their old Cold War-era ‘Total Defence Strategy’.

And according to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the letter sent out reads: ‘This places a high demand on… operational speed, decision making, information sharing, crisis communication, flexibility, robustness and handling secret information.’

THE SWEDISH ARMED FORCES

 The size of the Swedish armed forces has been in decline since the Cold War in line with shrinking military budgets.

The Swedish army currently has only 20,000 men in comparison to as many as 180,000 men in the 1980s.

This is also reflected in the defence budget as spending on defence has reduced from 3.1 per cent in 1981 to 1.1 per cent in 2016.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Sweden’s voluntary service had only attracted 2,500 recruits.

This means that is likely by 2018, that conscription will return in Sweden to plug the widening gap.

But despite the instructions, the MSB’s information head Svante Werger said: ‘There is nothing to indicate that war is likely, but we have the government’s mandate to plan for it.’

However, there has been a backlash against the letter, with some local leaders saying the requirements placed on municipalities were unrealistic.

Meanwhile others have accused the Swedish government of using the excuse of Russian aggression to justify spending more on the country’s military.

The letter comes as officials on Gotland, Sweden’s militarily strategic island in the Baltic Sea, said they likely will turn down a Russian request to rent harbour space after the government warned it could harm the country’s defense and political interests.

‘Following the information we got from the government, we very likely will say ‘no,” Tommy Gardell, head of the island council’s technical board, said. ‘We will align with the government.’

Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist said renting out harbor space on Gotland — considered of strategic importance for military control of the Baltic Sea — would ‘negatively affect Sweden’s defense and political interests.’ He did not elaborate, citing security reasons.

Tensions in the region have grown between Baltic NATO members and Moscow, including reports of airspace violations by Russian military aircraft.

The strategy places emphasis on defending the nation from overseas threats by taking economic and civilian precautions as well as military ones. Pictured are Swedish troops training in the Baltic 

The strategy places emphasis on defending the nation from overseas threats by taking economic and civilian precautions as well as military ones. Pictured are Swedish troops training in the Baltic

Non-aligned Sweden and Finland have watched with increasing trepidation, stepping up their own military activity with cross-border exercises and drills with NATO countries.

In September, Sweden stationed permanent troops on Gotland, which Hultqvist described as sending a signal after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its ‘increasing pressure’ on the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Meanwhile in October Sweden’s neighbours Finland accused the Kremlin of running a ‘systematic lying campaign’.

It shares an 833 mile border with Russia, but questions over the legality of the country’s independence have made Finnish leaders uneasy.

MILITARY HISTORY OF SWEDEN

Sweden has fought in many historical wars including a two year conflict with Russia between 1788 and 1790.

It was provoked by the Swedes attacking St Peterburg prompting Denmark, Norway, Prussia and Great Britain to declare war on Sweden.

However, the Swedes suffered a heavy defeat during the Battle of Öland, but months later they recorded a victory during the Seocnd Battle of Svenskund and soon after a treaty was signed to end the conflict.

During the Union Era of Sweden, the country then fought its last war with Norway, which ended in 1814 after Norway gained independence.

Sweden then declared neutrality during the First and Second World Wars and didn’t take any part in either.

More recently, the country had been taking part in Nato exercises with countries such as Great Britain and the United States in the Baltic.

Russia’s military escalation on Europe’s border has triggered the West’s biggest show of force in the region since the Cold War as Nato continues to square up to Vladimir Putin.

The moves are designed to stop Moscow taking over or undermining its former Eastern European satellites as it has with Crimea and Ukraine.

Russia’s Buildup in Kaliningrad to Test Donald Trump on NATO

December 9, 2016

U.S. calls Moscow’s moves to reinforce its territory between Poland and Lithuania ‘destabilizing’

The Kabardino-Balkaria anti-submarine ship firing a missile during a parade of Russian Baltic Fleet ships on Russian Navy Day in July off the coast of Kaliningrad.

The Kabardino-Balkaria anti-submarine ship firing a missile during a parade of Russian Baltic Fleet ships on Russian Navy Day in July off the coast of Kaliningrad. PHOTO: ZUMA PRESS
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Updated Dec. 9, 2016 6:06 a.m. ET

KALININGRAD, Russia—Military maneuvering here in the Baltic region by Russia and NATO presents a challenge for President-elect Donald Trump and his commitment to America’s European allies.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization plans to station a multinational force on its eastern flank by May as a deterrent following Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. But already in January, a brigade from the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division will arrive in Germany and then move to Poland—before Inauguration Day, according to U.S. military officials.

After conducting systems tests in Poland, one battalion will go back to Germany to the training center, another battalion will go to the Baltic states and one battalion will go to Romania, the officials said.

NATO military officials held an exercise last week to help plan the deployment. “There are units ready to deploy on the other side of the holidays,” U.S. Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Russia has been moving in recent months to deploy new antiship missile systems, S-400 air defenses and nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad region, long its citadel on the Baltic Sea.

The exclave is now sandwiched between new NATO members Poland and Lithuania. Officials in Washington and Brussels have said the buildup is meant to test the Western alliance—a postwar mutual-defense pact that Mr. Trump raised questions about during his campaign.

State Department spokesman John Kirby last month called the deployment unwarranted and “destabilizing to European security.”

Moscow quickly fired back.

“Russian state security is the prerogative of our country’s leadership alone,” said Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry of defense. “So any claims and suggestions about where, when, what and how we need to ensure our security on our territory, keep to yourselves.”

Russian officials have described the Iskander deployment as a counterweight to missile-defense systems the U.S. has put in Romania and plans to install in Poland. Washington says the systems are to guard against missiles fired toward Europe from countries such as Iran, but Russia sees them as a threat.

Asked in November about the missile deployment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskovwas quoted by the news agency Interfax as saying: ”NATO is an aggressive bloc, so Russia is doing everything necessary to respond to that.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described the alliance’s moves as measured.

“We don’t want confrontation,” he said Wednesday. “But we have to respond when we see a more assertive Russia acting the way that they have done in Ukraine and the military build up close to our borders.”

Despite the heated rhetoric, President Vladimir Putin said Russia is “ready to cooperate” with the Trump administration. “It is important to normalize [ties] and begin to develop a bilateral relationship,” he said on Dec. 1.

Iskander missile launchers in the Victory Parade in Moscow in 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II. Russia has been moving to deploy the missiles in its exclave of Kaliningrad.
Iskander missile launchers in the Victory Parade in Moscow in 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II. Russia has been moving to deploy the missiles in its exclave of Kaliningrad. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS

During his campaign, Mr. Trump expressed admiration for Mr. Putin’s leadership and said the U.S. and Russia could cooperate more on fighting terrorism.

Meanwhile, his comments about NATO’s collective defense obligations have raised hackles among U.S. allies. In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked the Baltic states, he would consider coming to their defense only after reviewing “if they have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

Kaliningrad, called Königsberg when it was part of Prussia and Germany, traces its origins to a fortified medieval town. It was blasted into ruins during World War II, pounded first by British bombers and then by a final Soviet assault in spring 1945.

The Soviets expelled the German population and renamed it after a Communist revolutionary. Much of the center was rebuilt with concrete-block housing that left little trace of its prewar splendor.

Today, Kaliningrad wants to project an image of a trading center and window to Europe.

“Kaliningrad is a very peaceful city,” said deputy mayor Artur Krupin. “Residents of Kaliningrad are very peaceful and good, they want in the best sense of the word to represent Russia’s interests within the European Union. They want to invite guests.”

The walled fortifications that remain in the city, he added, “have lost their original meaning.”

Russian army soldiers waiting to supervise visitors at a display of military vehicles during Russian Navy day at the Vistula lagoon in Baltiysk, Russia, on July 31. The Kaliningrad region has increasingly returned to its Soviet-era role as a garrison on the strategic Baltic Sea coast.
Russian army soldiers waiting to supervise visitors at a display of military vehicles during Russian Navy day at the Vistula lagoon in Baltiysk, Russia, on July 31. The Kaliningrad region has increasingly returned to its Soviet-era role as a garrison on the strategic Baltic Sea coast. PHOTO: ANDREY RUDAKOV/BLOOMBERG
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Mr. Krupin described Kaliningrad as “a platform for international dialogue” because of its proximity to markets in Eastern Europe. Local residents say economic ties have been set back by Russia’s chilly relations with NATO members, however.

In July, the Polish government did away with visa-free travel for Kaliningrad residents and neighboring Ukrainians to Polish border regions, citing security reasons ahead of a NATO summit and a visit by Pope Francis.

While Poland has since reinstated local border traffic with Ukraine, it decided not to with Kaliningrad, ending a brisk suitcase trade in household goods.

Asked about the matter in September, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the exclave was heavily militarized and has a new governor close to the Kremlin.

Russia’s economic crisis has also hit the region, which depends on tourism in addition to manufacturing and trade. A vendor selling amber souvenirs in the Baltic resort of Svetlogorsk said most visitors were retirees with little to spend because the Russian government hadn’t adjusted pensions in line with inflation.

“I hope there is a revolution!” he said. “Nothing will change as long as these guys are in charge.”

Despite saber-rattling over the region, however, little anti-Americanism is in evidence. Kaliningrad even has a restaurant downtown called Obama Pizza. Its slogan: Yes We Eat.

“We’re not changing it to Trump,” the pizzeria’s manager said.

Write to Nathan Hodge at nathan.hodge@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-buildup-in-kaliningrad-to-test-donald-trump-on-nato-1481279401

Russia accused of Estonia airspace violations as Finland signs defense pact with US

October 8, 2016

Estonia and Finland have accused Russia of again violating their airspace. Finland and the US have signed a bilateral defense cooperation pact.

Estonia has delivered a formal protest to the Russian ambassador in Tallinn, the Estonian military said on Friday. It accused Russian forces of violating its airspace for the fifth time this year.

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A Su-27 fighter aircraft entered Estonian airspace without permission or identification and remained near the Baltic island of Vaindloo for less than a minute, the Estonian army said.

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According to an Estonian radio report, Russia was planning to install an Iskander-M ballistic missile system, with a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles), in the Russian province of Kaliningrad, which lies on the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania. The report claimed that the short-range missile system was being delivered from St Petersburg in a civilian transport ship with substantial air escort.

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Finland and US pact

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Finland has expressed increasing concern over Russia’s activities in the Baltic Sea region. Helsinki authorities suspect that Russian SU-27 fighter jets violated the country’s airspace on two separate occasions in the Gulf of Finland on Thursday.

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On Friday, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work and Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto signed a bilateral defense cooperation pact pledging closer military collaboration. Finland’s close neighbor Sweden made a similar kind of military pact with the US in June. Neither Sweden nor Finland are members of NATO, but they both signed similar defense cooperation agreements with the UK earlier this year.

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“The US presence in and around the Baltic Sea undergirds stability in the region, and creates opportunities to increase defense cooperation between our countries,” the text stated.
Moscow denied the accusations, saying the planes flew over international waters “in strict compliance with the international regulations.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto met in July. (Reuters/Lehtikuva/J. Nukari)

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Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said it was “serious” that two such incidents took place on the same day. He urged a thorough investigation.

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US Baltic concerns

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The US has expressed concern over Russian activities on the Baltic Sea, and Sweden, Estonia and Latvia have also reported air violations. Russia’s military has also been reported to be active near US aircraft and ships in the region.

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“Unfortunately, these (Russian air intrusions) are becoming a norm rather than an exception,” Work told a news conference after a regular, scheduled meeting with Nordic and Baltic defense officials. “It’s hard for me to fathom that Russia would consider Finland a threat in any way, and activities like these are hard to understand.”

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Helsinki and Washington have cooperated closely via joint military air, land and sea drills but the non-legally binding pact seeks to deepen the ties through information exchange and joint research and development in areas such as cyber defense and training.

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The agreement also covers cooperation in ship building, nuclear defense and developing technologies for the Arctic.

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jm/bw (dpa, AP)

http://www.dw.com/en/russia-accused-of-estonia-airspace-violations-as-finland-signs-defense-pact-with-us/a-35994791