First Ten Slovak Soldiers Leave for EU’s EUNAVFOR MED SOPHIA Mission

Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (stock photo by TASR)

Vlkanova, August 3 (TASR) – The first ten Slovak military police officers from the Topolcany police unit (Nitra region) are leaving for the Mediterranean this week to serve in the EU mission entitled ‘EUNAVFOR MED for SOPHIA’, TASR learnt on Thursday.

The Slovak soldiers, as part of the German ships crew, will monitor the Libyan shores and meet tasks related to illegal migration in this area.

Speaking at a farewell ceremony for the servicemen at the Military Police Training and Cynology Department in Vltanova near Banska Bystrica earlier in the day, Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) said that this kind of assistance was declared by Slovakia last year during its presidency of the Council of the EU.

“We’re not indifferent to security in the Union and as its member we’ll participate in the operation,” said Gajdos. He went on to say that the main task of the mission will be maintaining security in the southern part of the Mediterranean with an emphasis on illegal migration and illegal arms trafficking. Training of the coastal guard in Libya will form a part of the operation as well, added the defence minister.

According to Military Police head Michal Migat, the soldiers will remain in the Mediterranean for six months and afterwards they will be replaced by another ten soldiers. “The training took one year and was very demanding, as the soldiers are being dispatched to a place that is not natural to our people,” he said.

Commander of the outgoing unit Ladislav Kovac told TASR that the EUNAVFOR MED SOPHIA mission is a great challenge for the soldiers. “We’re ready for it. We all know each other perfectly and we also know what to expect,” he said.