Milanović Tells Troops: You are First of All Croatian Army, then Army within NATO

By 13 October 2021

ZAGREB, 13 October, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday attended a military exercise on the Eugen Kvaternik artillery range in Slunj, calling it impressive and telling soldiers that they were, first of all, the Croatian army and that they defended the Croatian state.

The 11-22 October exercise is also taking place at the Gašinci artillery range and at the military barracks in Petrinja to evaluate forces for participation in NATO missions, operations and initiatives.

The state and the politics democratically elected by the Croatian people are expected to ensure the material conditions for the army, Milanović said, according to a press release from his office.

"What the priorities will be, how much money will be set aside and to what end, what is most important - democratic politics has an important role in that. I expect and see understanding for it, there are resources," he said.

"You are, first of all, the Croatian army, defending the Croatian state, Croatian sovereignty, territorial integrity and Croatian borders, although formally you are not guardians of the border nor should you be," he added.

Speaking of Croatia's role as a NATO member, the president said a lot had changed in international relations, with new partnerships, new conflicts and new aspirations being created.

"Our strategic position is relatively comfortable at the moment, our interest is, first of all, our interest. You are, first of all, the Croatian army and then, of course, an army within NATO, without a hidden agenda, fairly, openly. But, I repeat, first of all the Croatian army. This is the homeland, you defend it," the president said.