Prague - NATO will strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe in response to the Ukraine crisis, said the alliance's secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Wednesday.
US General Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), has already approached NATO members, including the Czech Republic, confirmed Czech Chief of General Staff Petr Pavel to Aktualne.cz, adding that the specific character of a possible Czech contribution to the planned boost of military presence has not been determined yet.
“As recently as yesterday, on the basis of the approval of framework measures by the North Atlantic Council, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) approached NATO member states over this request,” Pavel told Aktualne.cz.
“At present we are evaluating different options. They include increasing Air Policing, providing support to the leadership structures, participation of our units in the training system, especially the units designated for the needs of the NATO Response Force. We can also provide additional capacities, if we are asked for it,” said Pavel.
According to security experts, the Czech Republic could deploy its JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets to protect the airspace of the Baltic states.
“Exactly at this moment it could be a strong and necessary message to Russia that we are not willing to let our allies down,” said former Czech Chief of General Staff Jiri Sedivy.
Experts say that the Czech military could also deploy its advanced surveillance equipment, including the VERA passive radar system, to protect NATO's eastern border, and train Ukrainian security forces, such as border guards, to use this equipment.
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