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LN: Military calling up reservists over migrant wave

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Prague, Aug 18 (CTK) – The Czech military is secretly calling up reservists who could help professional soldiers protect the border from the rising number of refugees attempting to cross it illegally, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
In the past few days, commanders of some infantry companies of active reserves were asked to find out how many members of their units would be willing and able to take part in an extraordinary military exercise near the border by the end of the year, LN says.
However, the General Staff wants to keep this activity secret so far, LN adds, referring to information from one of the addressed reservists.
The reservists whose employers would release them, would complete the units of professional soldiers. If the government approved it, they would help the police protect the border from the influx of refugees.
Several deputies from the lower house defence committee know about the survey among the reservists. However, the military command refused to confirm it, LN says.
“The government would have to decide about the call-up of active reserves to a special exercise,” Jan Sulc, spokesman for the General Staff, told LN.
This may be the reason why generals do not want to officially comment on it.
If the government called up reservists, but their employers did not allow their participation in an exercise, it would be a shame, LN writes, adding that employers are not obliged to release reservists under the current law and they get no compensation if they do so either.
“This is why the General Staff wants to silently check first how many reservists out of the total 1,300 it can expect to participate in the border protection,” a warrant officer from a regional command told LN.
The paper also says the military command is addressing only the reservists who have not yet participated in an annual obligatory exercise this year, that is about 400. The remaining 900 could not be deployed most probably as their employers would hardly let them take part in another two-week exercise in the same year.
A new law, which the Chamber of Deputies is to debate in October, is to prevent similar problems. It introduces a financial compensation for the employers of the reservists if they are called up. Apart from it, the reservists’ monthly remuneration will rise from 500 to 1000 crowns and they will be entitled to a 20,000-crown contribution for their outfit and equipment as well, LN says.
The Defence Ministry expects these measures to attract more people to active reserves. It would like to raise their number to 3,000-5,000, which would considerably ease the service of professional soldiers.
In the case of strong migration waves and the closure of the Schengen border, reservists could be deployed to patrol the border along with the police, while the professional military could focus on more complicated tasks, such as NATO commitments, LN writes.
($1=24.339 crowns)

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