Gajdos Pledges Deployment of Up to 150 Soldiers to Latvia

Meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels (photo by TASR/AP)

Brussels/Bratislava, October 27 (TASR-correspondent) – NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Wednesday met for the first time since the Warsaw summit that took place on July 8-9 in order to determine the form of four multinational battalions that will serve in Poland and the Baltic states, TASR learnt on Thursday.

Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos said that these battalions will be comprised of 4,000 soldiers altogether. “I’ve confirmed our [Slovakia’s] pledge to deploy up to 150 professional soldiers to a training mission in Latvia between April and July 2017,” noted Gajdos.

Gajdos explained that soldiers from the Visegrad Four countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) should rotate every three months. The first to serve will be the Czechs, then Slovaks, Hungarians and Polish.

The defence minister hasn’t ruled out that Slovaks may become a proper part of the multinational battalions in 2018 after the training mission in Latvia is completed.

Meanwhile, Gajdos commented on the commanding structure of NATO. According to him, the deployment of NATO forces should reflect more the current security situation in Europe.

Gajdos stated that there’s a need to strengthen these commanding structures and also to reassess defence capabilities of all NATO-member states in terms of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

[Article 5 commits each member state to consider an armed attack against one member state, in Europe or North America, to be an armed attack against them all. – ed.note.]

Gajdos also stressed that, thanks to Slovakia’s NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) base, Slovakia will be able to boast of achieving its initial operational capabilities by the end of 2016. Full operational capabilities should be achieved by June 2017.