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Danish PM suggests increasing Arctic surveillance in response to Russian activity

FILE PHOTO: Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, makes declarations prior to a lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France November 18, 2019. Michel Euler/Pool via Reuters

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The Danish government aims to increase military surveillance of the Arctic sea and airspace in response to increased Russian activity in the region, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said ahead of a NATO summit.

“We see increasing Russian presence around the Arctic,” Frederiksen said in an interview with Danish daily Berlingske published on Tuesday, as leaders of the transatlantic security alliance gathered in London for the meeting.

Frederiksen proposed strengthening “anti-submarine capacity” as well as surveillance of Arctic airspace using radars, satellites and planes, in her comments to the newspaper, which were confirmed to Reuters by the prime minister’s office.

Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization aim to negotiate a new 2021-2024 budget and celebrate the 70th anniversary of the military alliance at their talks on Wednesday.

Frederiksen said the plan, which needs parliamentary approval, would not require additional spending, but would funnel 1.5 billion Danish crowns ($221.22 million) from the country’s existing military budget.

Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; editing by Philippa Fletcher