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Lešť hosted NATO excercise

ATTACKING one of the NATO members and its defence in cooperation with other NATO troops was part of the Ground Pepper training which took place in Lešť military area situated in the Banská Bystrica Region.

ATTACKING one of the NATO members and its defence in cooperation with other NATO troops was part of the Ground Pepper training which took place in Lešť military area situated in the Banská Bystrica Region.

“The training is a great opportunity to check the preparedness of our armed forces to cooperate with soldiers from other NATO member states,” said Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glváč, who attended with President Andrej Kiska on October 21, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “The armed conflicts do not know borders, and we as a member of the alliance have to be prepared to respond if the situation requires it.”

Exercises involving 1,300 soldiers from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and the United States, as well as 300 pieces of equipment lasted between October 13 and 22. Participation in the exercise was financed from budgets of the Defence Ministry and the participating countries, Defence Ministry spokeswoman Martina Balleková told the SITA newswire in mid September.

Such extensive, unplanned exercises are a new element in the Slovak armed forces and are the best way to reveal any potential shortcomings as well as a way of making improvements, Glváč said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Slovakia has so far mostly conserved tanks,and participating together with Polish armoured vehicles, Rosomak simulated the defence of a NATO member country. Head of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Milan Maxim said that the fire power of tanks is currently irreplaceable and their recall would be risky for the state’s security, according to Sme.

General Pavel Macko, second deputy chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces, said that NATO troops need to prepare to fight and conduct operations very different from what they have seen in Afghanistan in recent years.

“Even though it isn’t highly probable, the likelihood of a conventional military conflict in Europe has increased,” said Macko, as quoted by TASR. “This also entails a change in the Alliance’s stance and in the way that our army views the situation.”

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