MADRID – Spain is sending troops to Slovakia and will increase the number of troops in Romania to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank. This was announced by the Prime Minister of the government, Pedro Sánchez, during the NATO summit in Vilnius.
The head of government will give a press conference at the end of the summit to clarify details of the Spanish participation, such as the number of troops that will be sent.
Currently, the battalion in Slovakia is led by the Czech Republic (which has sent 650 soldiers) and Spain has so far not participated. In total, the international force in Slovakia has about 2,000 troops, with the participation of Czech, German, Polish, Slovenian, American and Dutch military personnel.
Four new battalions
At last year’s extraordinary summit in Brussels following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO countries decided to create four new international battalions in Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania. These battalions joined the four other battalions that had already been stationed in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 2017.
Increasing the number of Spanish troops in Romania
Sánchez also announced that Spain will increase the number of troops deployed in the mission in Romania, where about forty troops are responsible for the operation of a Mobile Air Control Group (GRUMOCA) radar.
The Spanish government emphasises that both the deployment of troops in Slovakia and the increase in troops in Romania are further demonstrations of Spain’s commitment to NATO.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, stressed the importance of the summit taking place in these days, during which the strategic concept of the Alliance will be developed, as approved during the meeting last year in Madrid.
The summit, which begins on Tuesday, comes a year after that agreement, which identified Russia as an immediate threat and established a new strategy to deter Russian aggression.
Also read: Spain sends Leopard tanks to Ukraine