The Government approved the possibility of deployment of the Czech Armed Forces within the NATO Rapid Reaction Force on the territory of the Alliance
On Friday, 25 February 2022, the Government of the Czech Republic approved two materials submitted by the Minister of Defence Jana Černochová concerning the deployment of the forces and assets of the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic within the framework of the Rapid Reaction Force on the territory of NATO member states and the possibility of the deployment of NATO forces on the territory of the Czech Republic.
The Minister of Defence submitted both items to the Government following the activation of the preliminary defence plans by the North Atlantic Council, which took place at its meeting on Thursday 24 February 2022. The activation of the defence plans allows the Alliance to request the deployment of Czech Army units that are earmarked for the NATO Rapid Reaction Force. This would involve a 180-strong chemical unit and a 400-strong mechanised and reconnaissance company.
Picture: The government approved the possibility of deploying the Czech Armed Forces within the NATO Rapid Reaction Force on the territory of the Alliance (illustration photo) | Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
Upon approval by the Government, these units may be deployed anywhere in the territory of the North Atlantic Alliance to strengthen its defence under Article 43(4)(a) of the Constitution of the Czech Republic for up to 60 days from the date of deployment.
"Currently, there is no requirement to deploy these troops. However, I consider it necessary that we be prepared for this alternative, thus fulfilling our alliance commitment and making the troops fully available to the Alliance. I would like to stress that this means exclusively the possibility of operating within NATO and under no circumstances does it allow for the deployment of troops outside the territory of the member states," said Minister Černochová.
The actual deployment would be decided by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Tod D. Wolters. Under his operational command, once the defence plans are activated, are the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) units deployed in the Baltics and Poland, where a 135-strong Air Defence unit is already deployed in Lithuania and 80 engineers in Latvia. In addition, in April, 4 Gripens with up to 100 additional troops will protect the airspace over the Baltic States as part of Air Policing.
The second material concerns preparedness for the possibility of short-term stays of NATO forces on the territory of the Czech Republic. This can also be allowed by the Czech side in accordance with Article 43 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic for a period of 60 days from the start of the stay for a total of up to 200 persons. The Czech Republic is a transit country in this respect, which normally allows the movement of Alliance forces. In order to support them, it is normally necessary to allow, for example, the stay of logistical means or other forces as required by the Alliance.
In addition to the above-mentioned materials, the Minister also informed the Government that at a meeting with Ukrainian Ambassador Yevhen Perebyinis on Thursday, she received from him a list of items that Ukraine needs. The Defence Ministry is now intensively analysing what military material the Czech Republic can provide to the Ukrainian side. The intention is to present the resulting proposals to the government at its next meeting.
The Minister of Defence also informed the Government about the readiness of the Ministry of Defence to help mitigate the humanitarian consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. "On the basis of the agreement between the Czech Republic and Ukraine, we can provide treatment to wounded Ukrainian soldiers in our military hospitals, although we do not currently have a specific request," the Defence Minister explained. Military hospitals are ready to provide treatment for polytrauma and war injuries in specialised facilities. The Ministry of Defence is also able to offer the capacities of its accommodation facilities in locations across the Czech Republic if needed.