Bratislava/Sarajevo, February 16 (TASR correspondent) – The body of professional serviceman Peter Pavlovsky, who died suddenly while on duty in the ATLHEA operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was transported from Sarajevo to Slovakia by a Government aircraft on Friday, with Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) and Chief of the General Staff Milan Maxim on board.
Earlier in the day a farewell ceremony took place at the international airport in Sarajevo with representatives of individual armies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina in attendance. At the ceremony, Major Pavlovsky was awarded in memoriam a medal for serving in the EUFOR Althea mission.
The Slovak defence minister expressed his sympathies to the bereaved. “What can be worse and harder for a minister than when he has to bring back a soldier who has died on a mission. I’ve experienced it personally for the first time,” Gajdos told journalists.
Gajdos further said that 42-year old Pavlovsky was a senior professional serviceman, who responsibly carried tasks in the area of financial and economic services for 24 years. He held a management post in the Ground Forces Command of the Slovak Armed Forces. In addition to the ATLHEA operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he served two missions in Afghanistan.
“With a small army, … the loss of a specialist and a young experienced man is notable,” said Maxim. “This loss is really notable for us, but it’s surely more notable for his relatives, friends and colleagues,” he added.
Major Pavlovsky passed away in a Sarajevo hospital on Wednesday (February 14) after experiencing sudden nausea. The exact cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, if the family allows it, said Gajdos, who went on to say that Pavlovsky died naturally.
ALTHEA is a peacekeeping mission carried out under the management of the European Union. Slovakia has been involved in the mission for several years now, with some 50 Slovak servicemen helping to secure stability in the country and monitor the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.