Cabinet approves the arrival of NATO troops

2,100 soldiers should bring defence technology with them.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (l) and Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Army Daniel Zmeko (r)Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (l) and Chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Army Daniel Zmeko (r) (Source: TASR)

The Slovak cabinet approved the presence of NATO troops on its territory as part of an enhanced forward presence.

This means that 2,100 soldiers from NATO member countries, namely the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, should arrive to Slovakia. They will also bring defence technology with them, including the Patriot air protection missile system and Sentinel radars.

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The arrival still needs to be approved by the parliament. If the proposal passes through, the first soldiers may start arriving to the country from March 15. Their presence in the country is not time limited.

“It’s the biggest step for Slovakia’s defence since the country became independent,” said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO), adding that he does not expect any problems in parliament.

Slovak public split over arrival of NATO troops (poll) Read more 

At the same time, the cabinet approved the sending of more material military aid to Ukraine worth €10 million. Naď did not specify what this package should contain.

Soldiers from six countries

The document approved by the cabinet suggests that there should be about 600 soldiers from the Czech Republic, 200 from the Netherlands, 100 from Poland and Slovenia each, 400 from the USA and 700 from Germany.

The presence of US soldiers has nothing to do with the recently ratified Defence Cooperation Agreement, as Naď stressed. He said the American soldiers will be responsible for operating the Sentinel radars, plus other technology currently under discussion with NATO.

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A significant portion should be present in the country at the turn of March and April. They will be using the facilities administered by the Defence Ministry, which includes existing military bases and military training spaces, Naď specified.

No-fly zone is one step before the last, says Slovak PM Read more 

For now, both the ministry and the army are working on the logistics. At the beginning, it will not be possible to accommodate all soldiers in the barracks, meaning that some will probably have to remain in tents or field accommodation, said Daniel Zmeko, chief of the General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces.

Yet, the country will be working on completing the necessary infrastructure, he added.

Meanwhile, the Czech cabinet approved the deployment of 650 soldiers to Slovakia, most of who will arrive as part of the enhanced forward presence of NATO. The mission still needs to be greenlit by the Czech parliament, the ČTK newswire reported.

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