Slovaks join Visegrad Group’s largest exercise

SLOVAK soldiers are preparing for the most extensive joint exercise yet of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries: it is a certification exercise for the EU V4 battle group.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

The exercise, which is due to take place in Poland between November 14 and 20 and named Common Challenge 2015, is to involve up to 3,000 soldiers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

“This certification exercise will assess the readiness of the V4 battle group for the needs of joint deployment, for which it has to be ready as of January 2016,” said Defence Minister Martin Glváč, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Soldiers of the V4 countries train together regularly to engage in common procedures, as in the case of Slovak Shield, which took place earlier and the current Balaton 2015 exercise in Hungary, the minister continued, adding that he believes the certification will go through without any problems.

A total of 233 professional soldiers and three military police officers from Slovakia will participate in the exercise, training for activities in a multinational group and also testing out the activities of the Slovak representation in command of the group. Slovak military vehicles will also be used in the exercise.

“Cooperation between the V4 armed forces has a long tradition, the result of which is the joint EU battle group,” said Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Army Milan Maxim, as quoted by TASR. “Our soldiers enlisted in the battle group will train in preventing the escalation of conflicts in the framework of multinational special purpose grouping, which is another task that we're preparing for.”

The certification exercise is divided into two parts: a staff exercise at the headquarters in Krakow between November 14-17 and a practical part between November 18-20 at the Drawsko Pomorskie training centre. The alignment of military staff and units has been taking shape since November 6.

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