Bratislava, July 3 (TASR) – The situation concerning missing or, to be more precise, stolen ammunition is very serious, stated President Andrej Kiska on Monday after meeting Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) and Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Milan Maxim.
The meeting took place following published information that some 300,000 cartridges disappeared from an ammunition storehouse in Sklene (Zilina region) last month. An unspecified amount of ammunition from stocks in Trencin-Kubra was found to be stolen in April.
“The Armed Forces have been considered by the public to be among the most trusted institutions long term. So, we expect that there is order and that things work well. If ammunition goes missing, some questions arise … regarding how those who are supposed to protect the state will protect us when a problem like this emerges in this very sector,” said Kiska.
The president asked Gajdos to explain what has happened, to find the culprits, to determine when exactly the ammunition was stolen and to adopt measures to make sure that this never happens again.
“I expect the Defence Ministry to inform the public regularly and objectively about the situation so that the confidence that we have in the Armed Forces won’t disappear,” added the president.
Kiska also pointed out that hundreds of millions of euros will soon be poured into the army. “Yes, our Armed Forces need to be modernised, but at the same time we mustn’t allow the money to go missing. Order must be restored in the army,” said the head of state.
Gajdos reiterated that he’s ordered a detailed and thorough inventory of all types of ammunition and weapons. “We don’t keep anything secret. We regularly report to all top officials, and the public. I immediately passed on the information and findings to the law enforcement authorities, but more detailed information can only be provided by these authorities and the courts,” said Gajdos.
The minister also said that “many cases of human error have been identified, including defects in carrying out formal inventories and inspections”.
Gajdos further indicated that the thefts of ammo might have not happened only recently but could be a long-term problem.