Czech Republic and Slovakia may add to NATO’s battalion in Latvia this summer
The Czech Republic and Slovakia may add to the NATO battalion stationed in Latvia at the beginning of summer 2018, as confirmed by Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis.
The minister said that Czech and Slovak troops will expand the combat group, not replace any of the represented countries. He refrained from mentioning any precise number of troops, saying that this matter is for the aforementioned countries to clarify. During his visit to Brussels, Bergmanis participated in a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers and the dialogue organized by Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan for member states of the expanded NATO combat group in Latvia.
Aside from Canada and Latvia, this meeting was also attended by Albania, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The sides discussed the presence of the multi-national battalion in Latvia and future steps in strengthening combat capabilities. Canadian minister mentioned during the meeting that the NATO combat group will remain in Latvia for as long as necessary. He also mentioned that the multi-national character of the combat group is a strategic message for NATO’s unity and ability to act. Bergmanis expressed his gratitude for continued presence of NATO in Latvia and its growing connectivity with the country’s national armed forces. Latvia’s Defence Minister also thanked countries that provided troops for the multi-national battalion, adding that the established geopolitical situation allows Latvia and its allies find effective solutions to help increase joint security.