NEWS BRIEFS

Slovaks join battle group

SLOVAK, Polish, German, Latvian and Lithuanian military personnel met at the Slovak Ministry of Defence to discuss the formation of a multinational EU "battle group" to respond to international crises.

The battle group would be one of 13 such groups, whose creation was decided at an EU defence ministers meeting in Brussels in November 2004, the TASR news agency wrote.

According to Milan Čelko, the Slovak deputy chief of staff for long term planning, the new group would be ready for action in 2010 and would comprise 1,500 to 1,800 soldiers, 150 to 200 of whom would be Slovaks.

"EU battle groups are designed to deal with sudden, abrupt crises, and so can be deployed in five to 10 days. The combat unit should be fully compatible with NATO rapid deployment forces," Čelko said.

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