SaS: Choosing Professional Soldier to Head Defence Ministry Was Error

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Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) vice-chair and former defence minister Lubomir Galko (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 7 (TASR) – Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) should have appeared before TV cameras immediately after 11 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) were allegedly stolen from a military warehouse near Trencin and adopted a stance on the incident, said Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) vice-chair and former defence minister (2010-11) Lubomir Galko at a press conference on Thursday.

Galko declared that appointing professional soldier Gajdos as Defence Minister has turned out to be a mistake on the part of the coalition. “I’m voicing deep consternation at the manner of miscommunication and the approach taken by the Defence Ministry. Until yesterday evening both the public and security community were being told that it was only ammunition that had disappeared. But that is no longer the case, as we have grave suspicions that 11 RPGs were stolen as well,” said Galko, adding that the odds of the stolen military equipment being put to terrorist use aren’t negligible.

Galko is convinced that in the current situation it is the duty of a Government member to appear in front of cameras and offer explanations. “Putting off an explanation by two days is bad form. We have information that TV Markiza was covering the issue as early as Monday (December 4), so Gajdos postponed his explanations by five days,” claimed Galko, alluding to the fact that the Defence Ministry plans to hold a press conference on the issue on Friday (December 8).

“It turns out that Gajdos doesn’t have the clout to take action against his own colleagues even when such serious missteps have occurred. Nominating a professional soldier to head the Defence Ministry was a mistake,” said Galko.

The Opposition will wait for Friday’s press conference and then decide whether to convene an extraordinary session of the parliamentary defence and security committee, to which Gajdos would be summoned.

TV Markiza reported that 11 RPGs and 300,000 pieces of ammunition have been stolen from a military warehouse and that the case is already being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NAKA). Security analyst Jaroslav Nad told Markiza that RPGs are employed by special units for various ops and have demonstrated their worth in both Afghanistan and Ukraine. RPGs are capable of taking out a vehicle from a distance of several hundred metres and are a sought-after commodity among terrorists.