The Czech Republic could contribute 400 troops to a battlegroup in neighbouring Slovakia as part of NATO’s plans to bolster its eastern flank, Defence Minister Jana Černochová said on Thursday.
NATO has sought to strengthen its presence in eastern countries of the military alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which borders Slovakia and other central European nations like Hungary, Romania and Poland.
The new battlegroup would include troops from those countries along with Bulgaria, Černochová said.
The Czechs would send personnel for posts in command and connection, logistics, policing and a mechanised unit, she said.
The mission still needs to be approved by the Czech government and Parliament.
The Czech Republic, like others, has backed Ukraine and has provided military aid for the country’s forces.
On Thursday, the government approved an additional shipment of light weapons and ammunition worth 17 million crowns. The country has already sent Ukraine weapons to the tune of 650 million crowns.
Slovakia’s defence minister said last Saturday that the country could host a battlegroup being formed that would include 1,200 foreign troops and a Patriot missile defence system manned by German and Dutch personnel.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President Miloš Zeman agreed to guarantee impunity to Czech nationals who want to go to Ukraine to fight alongside Ukrainians in defense of their country.
According to Czech law Czech nationals cannot enlist with a foreign army unless they get individual authorization from the president.
Between 250 and 300 individuals have expressed interest in supporting the Ukrainian people in this way.