Friday, 20 March 2020

Croatian Army Erecting Medical Camp Outside Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, March 20, 2020 - Croatian troops on Thursday began erecting a tent for a medical camp outside the Dubrava hospital in Zagreb with a capacity of 270 beds to accommodate infected patients and it is expected to be erected by Saturday.

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Admiral Robert Hranj, inspected the works, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Major General Mladen Fuzul explained the purpose of the expedition camp.

The camp will serve for accommodation and currently it will be able to accommodate 200 people. The camp can be self-sufficient but, in agreement with the Health Ministry, we decided that for now it will serve as an accommodation facility, said Fuzul.

A self-sufficient expedition camp can accommodate 300 soldiers during war, but also peacetime operations in extreme conditions. They are also intended for civilian use during humanitarian disasters.

Pursuant to a request by the Health Ministry and a government decision, the Croatian army, as part of the homeland security system, will provide support to the Health Ministry by securing additional accommodation facilities for patients, the Defence Ministry said in the press release.

The government's decision was made in accordance with the need to implement measures to protect citizens during the COVID-19 epidemic and to ensure appropriate health protection to infected patients as part of the intensive care centre at the Dubrava hospital in Zagreb, the press release added.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Croatian Army Activities Reduced to Minimum

ZAGREB, March 16, 2020 - The Defence Ministry said on Monday that the Croatian Army's activities have been reduced to the minimum due to the coronavirus outbreak but that the army's readiness is not in question.

"The safety and health of Croatian Army members is the absolute priority and all army activities have been reduced. However, the army's readiness will be maintained and tasks that cannot be postponed will be carried out," the ministry said in a statement.

All army command units are in contact with local civil protection authorities and health officials and are following the situation closely.

The army members' participation in international activities and conferences, exercises and courses has been cancelled as have all military exercises.

Classes at the Franjo Tuđman Military Academy will be conducted online.

All programmes of army assistance to local communities and civil society institutions will be suspended, except for those that are related to mitigating the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The health status of Croatian soldiers in Croatia and in missions and operations abroad is good and it is being monitored 24 hours a day, the ministry said.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Admiral Hranj Assumes Duties of Chief of Armed Forces General Staff

ZAGREB, March 3, 2020 - Vice Admiral Robert Hranj on Tuesday assumed the duties of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces from General Mirko Šundov, saying he would do the utmost to discharge them as best he could.

Until now, Hranj was the General Staff director. Speaking at the ceremony at the Defence Ministry, he said the Croatian army was one of the pillars of the Croatian state and that he would insist on the safety of all military personnel as well as on work and discipline.

Hranj said he would work on the development of the army as well-trained, equipped, operational and ready to respond to all tasks and threats.

Addressing the ceremony, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Zoran Milanović remembered everyone who took part in the defence and liberation of Croatia, notably those killed, gone missing or wounded.

Without them, there would be no present-day Croatia, which is a good country but can be better, he said.

After 18 years, "the US adventure in Afghanistan" is ending, with the US withdrawing from there, and Croatian troops together with it, Milanović said.

Croatia is not defended only on its borders, and the constitution clearly defines the tasks of the Armed Forces, he added.

He said Croatia would continue to be present in hotspots, but always taking into account its own interest. "This is not selfishness but common sense."

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said the common goal was to strengthen the Croatian army, underlining the importance of legal conduct and care for the safety of every individual.

He thanked Šundov for his performance as Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, for excellent cooperation since the Homeland War and for dedicating his life to the Croatian army and state.

Krstičević said he proposed that Hranj be in charge of the purchase of fighter jets.

We have big expectations of him also in other segments of the modernisation and equipping of the army, he added and announced that he would propose that Milanović promote Hranj to the rank of admiral.

More news about Croatian military can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Seven Croatian Soldiers Return from Iraq

ZAGREB, January 9, 2020 - Seven soldiers of the Croatian Army who had been relocated from Iraq to Kuwait returned to Croatia on Thursday morning, the Croatian Defence Ministry said.

The seven members of the second Croatian contingent were engaged in the NATO mission in Iraq and were transferred from Baghdad to Kuwait in line with a decision by NATO to relocate its mission from Iraq to Kuwait.

A total of fourteen members of the Croatian Army have been relocated to Kuwait, with seven of them completing their tour of duty.

The Croatian soldiers were relocated from Iraq, together with soldiers from several NATO member states, following Iranian attacks on American forces in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone attack and the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

During a government session on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković confirmed the successful evacuation of the Croatian troops out of Iraq.

More news about Croatian Army can be found in the Politics section

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Air Force Commanders Dismissed in Arms Smuggler Scandal

ZAGREB, November 26, 2019 - Several Croatian Air Force commanders have been dismissed over the transport of an arms smuggler by helicopter, and their dismissal was proposed by the Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mirko Šundov and approved by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in her capacity as Armed Forces Commander in Chief.

Following the scandal that happened at the Zemunik air base, a military police platoon commander, a flying platoon commander, and a squadron commander and the Zemunik air base commander have been replaced, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said in Osijek on Tuesday.

The President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces, President Grabar-Kitarović, sent into retirement Air Force Commander Brigadier General Mato Mikić and appointed Brigadier General Michael Križanec in his place.

Also, Zadar air base commander Mario Pleša was replaced by Željko Ninić.

The decisions were made after it came to light that Air Force pilots had flown in a helicopter a suspected arms smuggler.

Minister Krstičević said today that the newly appointed commanders were top-notch officers and pilots. He stressed that no arms or ammunition had been transported.

More news about Croatian military can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Army Helicopter Pilots Illegally Transport Arms Smuggler

ZAGREB, November 21, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević on Thursday said that he was sorry because of a scandal involving an arms smuggler flown aboard a helicopter by the Zadar's Zemunik air force base three instructor pilots who have been in the meantime suspended and announced sanctions for all responsible persons.

"I'm sorry. Something that isn't normal has been done. A probe will disclose who is responsible and the Croatian Army will punish all those in the line of command, including those who failed to act responsibly in this case," Krstičević said.

Krstičević apologised on behalf of the Croatian Army over the scandal which was broken by the Nova TV commercial broadcaster on Wednesday evening.

The TV reported that three airforce instructor pilots had been suspended and were under investigation because they transported a civilian disguised in a pilot's uniform and who is suspected of smuggling arms in an airforce helicopter.

Krstičević said that "every violation has a name and surname," and the Croatian Army has zero tolerance to conduct in contravention to military standards.

He added that he was informed of the incident two weeks ago however, he did not wish to divulge this information to the public to avoid influencing the investigation with his actions.

"The investigation is still ongoing. After becoming aware (of the incident) I ordered the commander to submit a report about the entire case. I have convened a task force to analyse the entire situation by 2 December and to recommend measures that need to be taken to deal with incidents of this nature," he said.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has been informed of the situation. Her office has said that the president expects that all the relevant facts are promptly determined in that case and that all illegal actions be appropriately penalised.

More news about Croatian Army can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 15 November 2019

New Military Barracks Inaugurated in Pula

ZAGREB, November 15, 2019 - The "Croatian War Veterans of Istria" military barracks was inaugurated in Pula on Friday, with President and Armed Forces Supreme Commander Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović saying it marked the end of the army's return to the cities with special significance in Croatia's military tradition, notably the Homeland War.

It was a strategic mistake in terms of security, development and politics to remove the army from Vukovar, Sinj, Varaždin, Ploče and Pula, Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that she had pushed for a balanced deployment of the army around the country from the beginning of her term.

The army's return to Pula will not mean only greater security for the city, Istria County and Croatia but also stimulate the economy and other aspects of life, she said, adding that the people trusted the army because it came from the people, living with and serving it.

During the Homeland War, the people of Istria joined the Croatian army in the highest number, which is the best evidence of their patriotism, cultivated for centuries by the Croatian people of Istria, Grabar-Kitarović said.

Returning to Istria, the Croatian army is bringing its most advanced technology, she said.

By establishing the Unmanned Aircraft System Headquarters and basing it in Pula, we continue to modernise our defence capabilities and give highly educated persons the possibility of a military career, she added.

That confirms that the outlays for the modernisation of the army are not just a state budget expenditure but a very profitable investment in Croatia's security, which is why Croatia will continue to work on modernisation projects and gradually increase the defence budget, Grabar-Kitarović said.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said the army's return to Pula and the establishment of the Unmanned Aircraft System Headquarters was of strategic importance for Istria's security and defence, and that it enabled servicemen in the county to find employment.

He said the return of the army to cities was part of a new deployment concept aimed at increasing the security of every part of Croatia.

The Unmanned Aircraft System Headquarters will employ about 100 servicemen and operate the Orbiter 3B unmanned aerial vehicle for the ministries of defence and agriculture as fishing surveillance and as support in sea protection and rescue operations as well as wildfire protection.

More Pula news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

U.S. Approves Sale of Two Black Hawk Helicopters to Croatia

ZAGREB, October 31, 2019 - The State Department has approved the sale of two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of 115 million dollars to Croatia, according to information published on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on Wednesday.

The Croatian government has requested a possible sale of two UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in standard USG configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), says DSCA.

Its press release also specifies elements of equipment.

The total estimated program cost is 115 million dollars.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally. The sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Croatia will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, counterterrorism, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support," reads the press release.

"These UH-60 helicopters will allow for interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets.

Croatia intends to use these defence articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing army architecture in its efforts to provide multi-mission support in the region as well as combat terrorist threats.

Croatia will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces, the US agency says.

The proposed sale of this equipment will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

More news about relations between Croatia and the United States can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Croatian Navy Celebrates 28th Anniversary

ZAGREB, September 21, 2019 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević said in Dubrovnik on Friday that the Croatian Navy (HRM) is a basic factor of Croatia's security in the Adriatic and a steward of the country's interests in the Mediterranean.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Navy, Krstičević said that the government had recognised the strategic importance of developing the navy along with the other branches of the armed forces.

"With the aim of securing the necessary conditions to carry out all our duties, we have steadily increased our defence budget," said Krstičević. "We have procured modern equipment and we are strengthening the overall capacity of the Navy," he added.

"In the wake of the Homeland War our navy weakened and that was not a good situation. We are a maritime country and we have to have a navy," the defence minister stressed.

"Last year the government decided to form a Marine company in Ploče as the new HRM centre, whereby we returned the victorious army to Croatia's south, which is one of the most important strategic decisions that is vital to peace and security in this area," said Krstičević.

The Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Mirko Šundov, said that the HRM must be capable of protecting the sovereignty of the state, monitoring and protecting Croatia's rights and interests at sea and additionally strengthening its homeland security.

As part of the ceremony, the 2nd Croatian contingent was welcomed home from the "Sea Guardian" NATO peace support mission in the Mediterranean.

The Croatian Navy was established on the orders of the late president Franjo Tuđman on 12 September 1991. Croatian Navy Day is celebrated on 18 September in memory of a battle near the southern coastal town of Makarska in 887 when the Croatian navy defeated the Doge of Venice who was killed in the battle.

More news about Croatian military can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Marko Babić Leadership Development Centre Opened in Udbina

ZAGREB, September 14, 2019 - The newly-established Marko Babić Leadership Development Centre was opened at the "Josip Jović" barracks in the central town of Udbina, with President and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović presenting diplomas to instructors who underwent the centre's demanding training programme.

The event was also addressed by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, and the Army Chief-of-Staff, General Mirko Šundov, who both said that the centre was established on the model of the centre for the specialist training of non-commissioned officers "Damir Tomljanovic Gavran", which operated in Šepurine near Zadar from 1994 to 2000 and whose establishment was initiated by General Ante Gotovina.

Underlining the need to modernise the army so that it can cope with current security challenges, Minister Krstičević called on military attaches of the diplomatic corps of NATO member-states to relay to their countries an invitation to send their soldiers to the new centre for training as soon as possible so that it could become an international centre.

He said that the main purpose of the new training centre was to strengthen the competencies of commissioned and non-commissioned Croatian Army officers as highly motivated leaders who understand their soldiers and lead them by setting a personal example.

General Šundov spoke about the necessary competencies and skills to lead a team, group or squad, explaining that group leaders and higher-level commanders would gain unit leadership and command skills in line with modern requirements.

Addressing those attending the opening of the training centre, named after the Homeland War hero and Vukovar defender, President Grabar-Kitarović said that Marko Babić, like Blago Zadro, Predrag Matanović and Damir Tomljanović Gavran, would be role models for Croatian soldiers forever.

Welcoming General Gotovina, who also attended the ceremony, Grabar-Kitarović said the opening of the centre showed, among other things, "that the time has passed when the legacy of the Homeland War was lightly renounced and belittled and when the role of the most deserving individuals from the time when Croatia's independence was established was negated."

"Such unjustified and unjust treatment was also felt by workers and instructors of the Šepurine training centre, and the Croatian Army and state will never again deny the memory of the brightest period of our history," she said.

More news about Croatian Army can be found in the Politics section.

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