Bratislava, April 25 (TASR) – By sending 152 soldiers into the Baltic states as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the second half of 2018, Slovakia confirms its position within NATO as being its trusted, active and full-fledge member, stated Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) on Wednesday in response to the Cabinet’s approval to dispatch up to 152 members of the Slovak Armed Forces to Latvia.
The Slovak soldiers will operate under the command of Canada at the Adazi training camp in Latvia with the option to be deployed also to Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. The objective of the NATO mission is to defend the alliance’s eastern border.
The presence of Slovak troops in the Baltic states, as part of two six-month rotations, will cost around €10 million. “I’d like to emphasise that partly by deploying the soldiers [to Latvia], we’re clearly confirming that we’re a credible partner for NATO that is meeting its obligations in a responsible way,” said Gajdos, who believes that the Slovak soldiers will meet their tasks in the second Baltic mission responsibly.
When asked whether sending soldiers to Latvia is a reaction to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, as declared by the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry, Gajdos responded that the mission isn’t directed against a particular enemy, but against any possible enemy.
Two Slovak military liaison officers who have been present in Latvia since November 2017 are preparing the conditions for the planned operation of Slovak soldiers in this country.