Podborany, North Bohemia, July 9 (CTK) – The Czech military’s mechanised company based in Zatec, near Podborany, has started its transfer to the NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics by loading military equipment on railway carriages on Monday, the unit’s commander Jiri Libal has told CTK.
Three trains with troops and about 80 pieces of equipment bound for Lithuania will be dispatched from Podborany this week. The ride will take up three days.
A mortar company has been deployed in Latvia since June.
NATO has enhanced its units in the three Baltic states and Poland due to its eastern members’ apprehensions of Russia.
A battalion of about 1,200 troops has been deployed in each of the four countries.
The Czechs have promised to join the NATO mission in Latvia, where the Czech mortar company operates under the Canadian command, and in the German-led international battalion in Lithuania.
On the Czech scene, the Baltic mission recently became an important political topic. It has been opposed by the Communist Party (KSCM), which is expected to support the new minority cabinet of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) in the upcoming vote of confidence in parliament.
The Czech lower house, nevertheless, approved the continuation of the Czech presence in the mission without the KSCM withdrawing its planned support for the cabinet.
According to the approved mandate, Prague can send up to 230 soldiers to Lithuania.
The core of the mission is the 41st mechanised battalion from Zatec, complemented with an engineering platoon, a logistic unit and medical officers.
The main task of the Czech soldiers in Lithuania will be cooperation with the allied units.
“We will train everything linked to combat operations, including attacks, defence, transfers and escorts, all usual operations as trained by mechanised units,” Libal said.
The goal is to make the units from different countries capable of cooperating in case of emergency or joint deployment.