Friday, 14 May 2021

President Zoran Milanović For Seeing to Croatian Interests When Sending Troops To international Missions

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Zoran Milanović said on Friday that Croatian interests would always be taken into account when sending Croatian troops into international missions.

The Croatian army is the modern army of a democratic state, a state of equal citizens, which participates in international missions, Milanović said in Petrinja at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the 2nd Guard Brigade Gromovi.

"You too will participate in international missions. In deciding where, when and in what composition we will go, we will take account of first and foremost protecting Croatian interests," he said.

Croatian troops will go into those international missions where they can learn, work on themselves and build their careers, he added, "where we won't meddle too much in others' conflicts and others' quarrels."

To the soldiers sworn in at Petrinja today, Milanović said that as soldiers and professionals they should work on their physical fitness, knowledge and education every day.

"We see how wars are waged today, how the world is stirring and what changes are taking place in front of us. This is not an ordinary time and we must always be adapted to this time, taking account of knowing clearly what our interests are, how far we can go, what we can't pass over and how much we can set aside for that."

In that sense, Milanović said, the Croatian army must be properly equipped.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić said 203 Gromovi members were killed in the Homeland War's operations Storm, Flash, Maslenica, Una and others, while five were unaccounted for and 1,200 were wounded.

Despite that, nothing could stop their courage and heart, he added, announcing the modernisation and development of the military.

For more about the army in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 14 May 2021

President Zoran Milanović Says is Involved in Fighter Jet Selection Via Main Staff Chief

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Zoran Milanović said on Friday he was involved in the selection of fighter jets via the Main Staff chief, who answers to him, and via the Air Force commander.

"The prime minister was untruthful again. Not a day goes by without that man telling a lie. He says I could have but did not get involved (...) But I did, via the chief of the Main Staff, who answers to me, via the Croatian Air Force commander," Milanović told reporters in Petrinja.

"Do I have to say all the time that the prime minister is a liar? That's lying. Or the man knows nothing about the state nor about the commission whose appointment he signed," he said, adding that on that commission was the Main Staff chief, "who answers first and foremost to me. So, I have all the inside information."

Asked if a decision which fighter jets to purchase would be made by the end of the month, as announced by the defence minister, Milanović said, "I don't believe anything."

That's irresponsible, amateurish, dilettante behaviour, he added.

Asked to comment on Milanović's statement that the government was taking too long to decide on the best multi-purpose fighter jets, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that Milanović had refused to appoint his representative on the competent commission and sought to distance himself from the process. "What does he care then? Why the rush? We will decide at our own convenience."

For more about the army in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić Expects Decision on Fighter Jets This Month

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said on Friday he expected a decision on the best offer of multipurpose fighter jets to be made this month.

We were in a time of earthquakes and the pandemic, and perhaps the communication with the bidding countries did not take place when one wanted, he told the press in Petrinja.

"It all resulted in us having a superior time ahead of us when a decision will be made to the honour and glory of the Croatian army and the Croatian Air Force."

Asked when the decision would be made and what the deadlines were, Banožić said he expected it this month. He also commented on President Zoran Milanović's question as to when the government would finally decide.

He said "the president was invited to participate in the body which created the basis for making a decision" and that he could have "participated in that process."

Banožić said he tried to remain civil in his communication with the president. "First and foremost because I'm the minister of a department which is truly an honour for me, a person who should avoid conflict yet try to keep the situation under control regardless of the circumstances."

He said the military commander-in-chief should have a positive attitude and support the military and the Defence Ministry in making decisions on modernisation and equipment.

I understand what the president's fundamental constitutional duties are. I respect his role as such. I can't accept his attempts to have his way of communicating and political views reflected on the Croatian army, Banožić said.

For more about the army in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 7 May 2021

DEFENDER-Europe-21: Zadar Doing Its Part in Large NATO Exercise

May 7, 2021 - As part of NATO, Croatia participates in a large military exercise called DEFENDER-Europe-21, and UK and US navy ships arrived in Zadar with valuable equipment to be distributed among training areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Large-scale, multinational, and army-lead, DEFENDER-Europe is a joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO, and partner militaries. This year's edition DEFENDER-Europe-21, as reported by U.S. Army Europe and Africa website, focuses on „Building operational readiness and interoperability with a greater number of NATO allies and partners over a wider area of operations is defensive in nature and focused on responding to the crisis if necessary“, and also shows that „the U.S. commitment to NATO is ironclad.“

The exercise also includes strict COVID prevention and mitigation measures, such as pre-deployment COVID testing and quarantining and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy show significant involvement and will utilize key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa – continues the website.

„Exercises new high-end capabilities such the new U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades, air, and missile defense assets and the recently reactivated V Corps and demonstrates our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and the Black Sea regions while sustaining our abilities in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Africa“, adds the exercise goals the official U.S. Army website.

Apart from the U.S., Approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries, and as a NATO member, Croatia has not been left out of the drill.


U.S. Naval Ship Yuma arrives in Zadar, Croatia © Sgt. Alexandra Shea

As part of the exercise, U.S. Naval Ship Yuma and U.K. Vessel Hurst Point off-loaded more than 300 pieces of military equipment in Zadar, Croatia’s Gazenica port, after ferrying it from Durres in Albania. The delivery started on Tuesday, May 4, and it was concluded on Friday. The journey of the equipment started back on March 24 at the Port of Jacksonville in Florida. The local U.S. National Guard units were shipping the equipment for three days onto USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) after which, the ship stopped by Portsmouth in Virginia for the final pieces of equipment before heading towards Durres in Albania. In Durres, the smaller vessels took the equipment and finally loaded it to Yuma, and Hurst Point, which brought it to the gem of Northern Dalmatia, Zadar.

„This process is called Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, a method used to ensure swift delivery of supplies and equipment in a variety of port situations“, explained the press release.

U.S._equipment_leaves_for_training_area-c-Sgt._Joshua_Oh.jpgU.S. equipment leaves for training area © Sgt. Joshua Oh 

While many would probably stop at Zadar and chill for a lovely holiday, the equipment, however, will continue its journey. Part of the equipment will remain in Croatia, but it will be transferred to Slunj, home of the Main Training Area, and the rest goes to training areas scattered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In BiH, the drills and maneuvers for which the equipment will be used are under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21” which will culminate in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” at the end of May. Not just as a test of possibility in the „God-forbid-we-are-attacked“ scenario, Croatian Rampart 1991-2021“ also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatia Armed Forces.

The Main Training Area in Slunj, Croatia and training areas throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina to be used in drills and maneuvers alongside members of the Croatian Armed Forces, under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21.” The exercise culminates in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” - which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces at the end of May.


British Major Dan Cornwell talking to Croatian press, screenshot / Defense Flash News

British Major Dan Cornwell told the Croatian press that the idea of being in Zadar is that Croatian, U.K., and U.S. forces operate together in loading U.S. equipment and personnel.

„We've done this before, on exercise last year in Germany, and I can say, it's a lot better down here in the south, it's absolutely amazing to be here in Croatia to do this alongside Croatian Armed Forces where we can better understand how we operate differently, how we operate similarly and equally building up our interoperability and our ability to operate better in the future“, said Maj. Cornwell, indicating that perhaps he can find Zadar, like many others, as a great holiday destination and not just the line of duty.

Learn more about Zadar on our TC page.

For more about the army in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić: "Croatian Army is Not Training Ground For Political Rivalry"

ZAGREB, 30 April, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said on Friday that the Croatian Army is not a training ground for political rivalry, adding that he will never allow his actions to put the army in a position to be used for political recriminations.

"The key is a Croatian Army that needs to develop. It isn't a training ground for political rivalry. I will never do anything, regardless of whoever wants to put me in that position, to make the Croatian Army a topic for political recriminations. The Army does credit to us all, particularly now when we are marking the 30th anniversary of the Armed Forces and each week we have at least one event," Banožić told reporters after meeting with Kosovo's defence minister.

He recalled that according to his decision based on the Defence Act, the Croatian Army will attend the commemoration of the 26th anniversary of Operation Flash in Okučani. He added that no one had ever made a decision on where the Chief of Staff and other commanders would be, and that will not be the case now.

There's no such thing as the President's Army, there's only the Croatian Army

"This refers to people who participated in the Homeland War, people who are deeply aware of the emergence of the Croatian Army and the way it was formed. They are also aware of the fact that any commemoration, including the commemoration of Operation Flash, makes new generations proud as they need to learn how to behave and love their country," the minister said, underscoring that he expects everyone to behave in that spirit.

"That means that we do not have the President's Army, we only have the Croatian Army which is defined by the Defence Act," said Banožić. He recalled that the Defence Act was adopted in 2013 under the then prime minister Zoran Milanović and said that now as president Milanović certainly knows what changes were made to the act in comparison to the period before that.

"Vital changes occurred then. The Minister of Defence participates in creating the budget and in decisions on how the budget will be spent and reports to the government and parliament," said Banožić. He said he respects the authority of the President of the Republic as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and that they are clearly defined by the Constitution.

Banožić was referring to President Zoran Milanović's statement on Thursday that his delegation at the commemoration in Okučani would include military commanders, while "I don't know who will be with Plenković, but they won't be." 

"I think that is something that is quite damaging for the Croatian Army, to politicise it in that way. The Defence Act serves as the basis for further equipping, modernisation and development of the army. Topics like we have had until now concerning peace missions and operations, cooperation with other countries and support to civil institutions. While I am minister we will adhere to that and we will certainly not put any commander in any uncomfortable situation regarding where and with whom he will be," said Banožić.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

President Zoran Milanović: Croatian Army a Pillar of Civil Democracy

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 -  President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday that the Croatian Army was one of the pillars of a civil, democratic state, while attending, in his capacity as the supreme commander, the official oath ceremony of the armed forces' 3rd mechanised battalion.

The ceremony was held in the Knin army barracks and was attended by also Defence Minister Mario Banožić, Chief-of-Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj and commander of the land forces Lieutenant-General Boris Šerić, the President's office said in press release.

Addressing those present Milanović said that the army is primarily for defending the Croatian homeland, on land and sea.

The Croatian Army, which means you, will build its future on international institutions. The circumstances are such that there will not be any more wars as there were thirty years ago. Today are different times, different circumstances...strive for the best for yourself, your families, your units, your homeland - Croatia," said Milanović.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Construction of Army Field Hospital and Troop Accommodation Facility Begins at Slunj

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - The foundation stone was laid for a Role 1 field hospital on the Croatian army's training ground at Slunj on Wednesday, and work began on a building for the occasional accommodation of up to 200 personnel, which is financed by the United States government with $1.7 million.

The work will be carried out by the Croatian Army Engineers Corps and US engineers.

The event was attended by the State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Zdravko Jakop, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Sinisa Jurkovic, and the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst.

Ambassador Kohorst said that the US was Croatia's most important strategic partner in defence and security and that their defence cooperation was a very important part of the overall cooperation between the two countries.

The construction of the two facilities will improve the living and security conditions during training, and the project is part of the successful cooperation between the US and Croatia, Lt. Gen. Jurkovic said.

Jurkovic thanked the American friends for the donation, saying that it was the result of cooperation at all levels. He particularly praised Ambassador Kohorst for his contribution.

Jakop said that the two facilities would increase the quality of life and work at Slunj, the largest military training ground in Croatia, adding that the cooperation with the US had increased the level of troop readiness and complementarity.

US ambassador hopes Croatia will opt for F-16 aircraft

Kohorst said that the US had invested $700 million in Croatia through defence cooperation over the last 10 years. He said that Croatia and the US were successfully working together both politically and militarily, as well as in humanitarian work.

The US ambassador said he was confident that the cooperation would continue, expressing a wish that in buying fighter jets for its Air Force Croatia would choose the US offer of F-16 aircraft.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Flag Lowered as Last Croatian Troops Leave Afghanistan

September 13, 2020 – Around 70 soldiers are finally on their way back home to their families as the last Croatian troops leave Afghanistan

A flood of emotions is due over forthcoming hours as relatives and friends welcome back home loved ones in the armed services. For some, happiness will be the overriding feeling. For others, it will simply be relief.


The final 70 Croatian army personnel taking part in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission are at last coming home. The lowering of the nation's flag at Marmal camp in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan on Saturday 14th September marked the official end of the army's contribution to the effort and signalled the last Croatian troops leave Afghanistan.

Resolute Support was launched on 1 January 2015 as a replacement to the ISAF operation. The objective of the mission was to provide training, advice and assistance for Afghan security forces and institutions in order for them to deal with extremist groups such as the Taliban and ISIS. In the 13 years of the preceding ISAF mission, more than 3,500 foreign troops lost their lives. 2224 of them were American.


At the peak of their participation, around 100 Croatian servicemen and women were stationed in Afghanistan. Last year, 8,475 Americans were training Afghan forces in the country, 5,500 were engaged in counter-terrorism missions, 8,673 allied soldiers were supporting and 27,000 military contractors were also part of the effort. In July of this year, there were 76 Croatian soldiers left in the country.

As the last Croatian troops leave Afghanistan, anxious worry among those waiting at home can finally ebb away. It can't have been an easy time for them. As recently as last summer, Croatian troops positioned in the country were caught in a fatal attack.

On 23 July 2019, one vehicle in a five-car Croatian convoy was hit by a suicide bomber while on its way to Lyon camp. Three members of the Croatian Army were injured in the attack, two of them seriously. Tragically, one man died from his injuries the following day.


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All photos © Croatian army

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Croatia Will Get a New University, It Will Be Named After Tudjman

September 10, 2020 - As reported by, in the first parliamentary reading, the Government said that Croatia would get a new university, the University of Defense and Security 'Dr. Franjo Tudjman', to perform activities of higher education, scientific, professional, and other activities for the needs of the defense system and the homeland security system.

According to the bill, which was sent to the Parliament from the Government session on Thursday, the Croatian Military Academy 'Dr. Franjo Tudjman' becomes a University to which already established study programs and accredited university studies in Zagreb and Split will be transferred, will conduct a postgraduate university specialist study of homeland security, and the Ministry of Defense will perform the rights and duties of the founders.

Minister of Defense Mario Banožić pointed out that the transformation to a university 'Dr. Franjo Tudjman' is of special state interest, and the law provides key conditions for the development of the Croatian Army's capabilities and military skills as a science.

'The University will enable the development of scientific and teaching staff for the interdisciplinary field of science in the field of military-defense and security-intelligence sciences and skills, and will be able to apply for EU funds, which has not been possible so far' he stressed.

We must strive for the highest quality education system and thus contribute to the development of the Croatian Army by creating a staff that will gain all the necessary breadth for quality leadership and management to execute tasks, the minister added.

'The university will enable a stronger affirmation of the Croatian Army on the international scene,' he pointed out.

The university will be organized like other public universities in Croatia. It will also have certain specifics, and the law in the field of defense will be applied to it while respecting the constitutional provision on university autonomy.

Poor placement of Croatian universities in the world

Croatian universities are not doing well in the world rankings.

Times Higher Education published a ranking of the best universities for 2021, according to which the University of Oxford is again the best in the world, while the University of Split is in the 801-1000 position and the University of Zagreb in the 1001+ position.

The ranking includes more than 1,500 universities from 93 countries, the highest so far. The list is based on 13 performance indicators in four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and an international perspective.

Compared to the list for 2020, the University of Split has fallen on the list. At that time, it had a position of 601–800, and now it is in the position of 801–1000. Nevertheless, the University of Split is the best positioned Croatian university. The University of Zagreb remained in the same position, below the top 1,000.

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Thursday, 26 March 2020

11th Croatian Contingent to Return from Afghanistan

ZAGREB, March 26, 2020 - Croatia will repatriate its troops who have completed their tour of duty in Afghanistan as part of NATO's Resolute Support peace mission and whose return was temporarily delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government decided on Thursday that the Croatian personnel would be flown back by a Croatia Airlines plane.

The repatriation of the 11th Croatian contingent from Afghanistan was scheduled for 27 March. A total of 140 troops are returning from Afghanistan, including 105 Croatians and 35 soldiers from allied partner countries (Montenegro - 26, North Macedonia - 7, and Albania - 2).

This contingent has already transferred its duty to the 12th contingent which comprises 108 soldiers.

Explaining the decision, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said that the repatriation of the 11th contingent was temporarily delayed because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

"However, we have ascertained that their further stay in Afghanistan after their tour of duty has ended, represents a health and safety risk and that the return of all members of the 11th contingent is necessary. The safety of every Croatian soldier is an absolute priority," said Krstičević.

"It is our responsibility to return every Croatian soldier to their family. They have completed their duty and now this final step is up to us," he added.

More news about the mission in Afghanistan can be found in the Politics section.

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