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Iceland to Increase Defence Spending, PM Announces

PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir attended a NATO meeting in Brussels yesterday. Speaking to RÚV after the meeting, the PM stated that the government would be increasing its defence budget, with special emphasis on cyber security.

A short and long-term response to the war

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir attended an extraordinary NATO meeting in Brussels yesterday alongside Minister of Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir. The aim of the meeting was to discuss NATO’s short and long-term response to the war in Ukraine.

“We condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the strongest possible terms,” a statement released after the meeting by the Heads of State and Government of the 30 NATO Allies read. “We call on President Putin to immediately stop this war and withdraw military forces from Ukraine, and call on Belarus to end its complicity, in line with the Aggression Against Ukraine Resolution adopted at the UN General Assembly of 2 March 2022.”

Increased humanitarian support

In an interview with RÚV after the meeting, Katrín stated that although Iceland would not be participating directly in NATO operations, it would be offering humanitarian support.

“We have decided to ramp up humanitarian support. That is, to increase our support even more. We’ve tripled our spending since the start of the invasion.”

As noted on the government’s website, Iceland will be contributing an additional ISK 150 million ($1.1 million / € 1 million) to humanitarian aid. The authorities have already spent more than ISK 500 ($3.9 million / € 3.5 million) million since the war began.

Increased sea and air traffic is expected

Given that NATO has decided to activate its defence plans, Katrín Jakobsdóttir also expects increased traffic above and around Iceland. NATO’s defence plans involve, among other things, the deployment of “significant air and naval assets.”

“Defence plans have been activated for all NATO zones,” Katrín observed, “including areas to which Iceland and Norway belong. So we can expect increased air and sea traffic.”

Iceland will also be increasing its NATO funding.

“We will increase our spending over the next few years, and that spending will be focused on cyber security, which is also an area of emphasis within NATO,” Katrín told RÚV.

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