European States Expand Military Cooperation

The declaration was signed by heads of the defense ministries of NATO members Norway and Denmark, as well as those of Sweden and Finland, along with the foreign ministry of Iceland, Aftenposten said on Thursday.

The ministers said in a joint declaration, quoted by the newspaper, that “Russian aggression against Ukraine” presents “the biggest challenge” to European security, particularly that of the Nordic countries.

According to Aftenposten, the five European countries will most likely expand joint military exercises, deepen cooperation in the sphere of defense and broaden the exchange of intelligence information.

Russia and the West are currently experiencing the worst diplomatic relations since the fall of the Soviet Union. The United States and the European Union are accusing Russia of “annexing” Crimea, which rejoined Russia in March, 2014 following a referendum in which 96 percent of participants voted in favor of the move.

The West also claims, without providing any factual evidence, that Russia has interfered in the armed conflict in southeastern Ukraine, where Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in April, 2014.