Bratislava – Slovenia will deploy up to 200 troops to Slovakia as part NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence, Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced as he met his counterpart Jaroslav Nad in Bratislava on Thursday.
The pair discussed the situation in Ukraine and Slovenia’s participation in the NATO mission in Slovakia after NATO defence ministers on Wednesday committed to enhance protection of the alliance’s eastern flank.
The two ministers agreed the new mission in Slovakia should be put into place as soon as possible with Tonin assuring Slovakia it could count on Slovenia to help protect NATO’s eastern flank.
“Slovenia is prepared to deploy up to 200 soldiers to Slovakia,” he said. Slovenia would like to “send a whole company, we don’t want to divide it into several parts”. Initial indications were that Slovenia could deploy up to 100 troops.
“I’m confident that Slovenian soldiers will do their job well because they’re true professionals,” Tonin told reporters after talks as Nad hailed Slovenia’s intention to participate.
Focusing on joint training and building interoperability, the mission is to become operational in Slovakia in the coming days and Slovenian troops will be deployed as soon as possible.
Tonin also promised his Slovak counterpart humanitarian aid to help Slovakia cope with large number of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The ministers also discussed modernisation of armed forces, which is a challenge for both countries. They find it essential to first provide basic equipment.
They also talked about documents to shape the defence policies of the EU and NATO in the coming years, agreeing that the changed security situation should be taken into account.
Tonin is also due to visit the Lešt military training ground, where Slovenian troops will train as well.
Slovenia currently has roughly 50 troops deployed in Latvia.