Martin, June 21 (TASR) – Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (SNS) in Martin (Zilina region) on Thursday said farewell to 150 soldiers of the Slovak Armed Forces who are leaving for Latvia in order to meet tasks as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence operation along with other Alliance members.
“This clearly shows that we’re ready to provide the defence of NATO-member states as well as the Slovak Republic. By our presence we’re obviously stressing the fact that Slovakia isn’t only a consumer of peace, freedom and democracy, but it’s been a consistent contributor [of these values] for many years,” said Gajdos, pointing to the missions in which Slovakia has participated and to the 18,000 members of the Armed Forces that have been deployed.
The defence minister went on to say that the Slovak servicemen in Latvia will operate under the command of Canada and will protect the Alliance’s eastern border.
“I want to stress that our soldiers won’t carry out combat tasks, but on the contrary, they’re leaving for Latvia to meet tasks based on the principle of solidarity. They’ll participate in eliminating threats that the Alliance is facing and train to react to any possible aggression,” said Gajdos.
Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Daniel Zmeko said that the Slovak soldiers leaving for the Baltic States are equipped with the best machinery. “They’ve undergone complete training; both the ordinary ranks and commanding bodies are ready,” said Zmeko.
The Slovak troops should be present in the Baltic States as of July 1 as part of two six-month tours of duty.