NATO-member Denmark to appoint new army chief after incumbent steps down

  • World
  • Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: A Danish flag flies in front of the foreign ministry in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 31, 2023. REUTERS/Tom Little/File Photo

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The chief of Denmark's army, Major General Gunner Arpe Nielsen, has resigned ahead of a revamp of the NATO-member's military brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Danish armed forces said on Wednesday.

A new chief will be appointed by April, when Nielsen will leave his position after three years in the role.

Nielsen last year acknowledged that the onset of the war in Ukraine and a growing military threat from Russia had revealed major shortcomings in Denmark's ability to defend its territory and meet its NATO commitments.

Independent military analyst Hans Peter Michaelsen told Reuters: "I see this as frustration that the politicians are very closed-minded about how the money should be spent."

"Nothing is being done to beef up the army. The politicians keep talking about the need to invest, but no money has reached the soldiers yet."

Denmark has come under pressure to bring military spending back up to a NATO target of 2% of GDP. Military aid for Ukraine, including donating F-16 fighter jets, has helped Denmark meet that target, although major investments in its own forces have yet to materialize.

Denmark last year pledged to invest 143 billion Danish crowns ($21 billion) in defence over the next 10 years.

Nielsen, 57, will take a new role as deputy head of development and planning for the armed forces. His successor is expected to be appointed soon and start in the role on April 1, the armed forces said.

($1 = 6.8883 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Louise Breusch Rasmussen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Angus MacSwan)

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