COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The defense and economy ministers in Denmark’s centrist government swapped places Tuesday, a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Danish lawmakers for providing Kyiv with F-16 warplanes.
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen who is also deputy prime minister in Denmark's three-party coalition and head of the Liberal Party, became economy minister. Troels Lund Poulsen who acted as defense minister while Ellemann-Jensen was on a five-month leave of absence for health reasons, now takes over full-time at the defense ministry.
Ellemann-Jensen told a news conference that he took the decision to swap places after returning to office Aug. 1 but only announced it Tuesday following the Zelenskyy visit.
Lund Poulsen was considered the architect behind the donation of the F-16 to Ukraine and was at helm in May, when Denmark announced it will invest some 143 billion kroner ($21 billion) in the country’s defense over the next decade.
The Netherlands and Denmark announced Sunday they will give F-16 warplanes to Ukraine, a long-awaited announcement that Zelenskyy called an important motivation for his country’s forces, embroiled in a difficult counteroffensive against Russia.
Ellemann-Jensen has apologized for misinforming parliament over a rushed Israeli arms deal to replace Denmark’s howitzers that were donated to Ukraine in January.