Women in Denmark should face the same military conscription requirements as men, the country’s defense minister said this week amid rising tensions in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview with Danish television, Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said Denmark can no longer afford to accept only volunteers into the military and everyone — including women — should be part of the equation.
“If we are able to strengthen our defense, we must have a basis from which to strengthen it,” Mr. Ellemann-Jensen told TV2 channel. “The armed forces benefit from more women coming.”
In an unusually frank interview, Mr. Ellemann-Jensen said the government is not currently able to adequately defend itself without increased conscription — including women — and a larger military budget.
Those concerns are believed to be part of Denmark’s hesitancy to send any of its main battle tanks to Ukraine as other European countries are doing. Denmark has 44 tanks in its inventory and 14 are currently deployed to the Baltic region, Mr. Ellemann-Jensen said.
“They are used as a deterrent because we have Baltic allies with a very, very large neighbor who has been shown to attack its neighbors,” he told TV2 news, clearly indicating Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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He said every Danish tank is needed for the country’s defense and “are not just [something] we have for decoration.”