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.

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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.

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Tuesday, 16 March 2021

$480,000 Invested in Upgrade of Rijeka's Offshore Emergency Response Centre

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The refurbished building housing Rijeka's Maritime Crisis Centre for Faster Response to Any Disaster off Croatia’s Coastline was officially opened on Tuesday.

The investment into the upgrade of this offshore emergency response centre in the biggest Croatian seaport totalled US$ 480,000, and the lion's share of the investment was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

During the ceremony, the state secretary of the Croatian Sea, Transport and Infrastructure ministry, Josip Bilaver, thanked the U.S. administration and military as well as the US Embassy in Zagreb for this donation in the amount of HRK 3.2 million.

The ministry has invested a million kuna, while the local county authorities provided 100,000 kuna for the project.

"The U.S.-Croatia partnership at sea is essential to the two countries’ NATO military cooperation and shared security. That is why the United States, through the U.S. Military’s European Command (EUCOM), provided assistance to the Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transportation and Infrastructure and the Rijeka Harbor Master’s office to advance training and emergency-response capabilities at sea," the embassy said on its website.

The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Victoria Taylor, who today joined State Secretary Bilaver for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, expressed satisfaction with the completion of this project.

Over the last decade, the USA has set aside HRK 4.5 billion to support numerous civilian and military projects in Croatia, she said.

The Rijeka centre is described as a a renewed facility that will become "the central point for planning, training, and management in response to emergencies at sea, from supporting persons and vessels in need to addressing maritime accidents and oil pollution."

"The upgraded center will therefore play a critical role in maintaining the safety and environmental stewardship of Croatian coastal waters, ensuring quick action in response to a potential environmental disaster. Protection of the environment is a key priority for both Croatia and the United States, and joint capacity to mitigate against incidents and accidents at sea can make all the difference in a crisis."

The embassy recalls that "Rijeka is already a hub for U.S.-Croatia cooperation, with the port city benefiting economically from nearly 900 million kuna in contracted services by the U.S. Navy for ship maintenance and support since 2011."

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

Friday, 26 February 2021

Bosnia and Croatia Sign Military Cooperation Plan for 2021

ZAGREB, 26 February, 2021 - Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia on Thursday signed a military cooperation plan for 2021, the Bosnian Defence Ministry said.

The document was signed by Bosnian Assistance Defence Minister Zoran Šajinović and Croatia's Military Attaché to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brigadier Davor Kiralj.

The plan provides for 27 joint activities in Croatia and 14 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The activities include military education and training, exercises and high-level meetings.

Šajinović and Kiralj expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation between the armed forces and defence ministries of the two countries with a view to further promoting good neighbourly relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

They expressed confidence that the cooperation would continue to be expanded in a spirit of Euroatlantic integration for the benefit of both countries.

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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Saturday, 29 August 2020

VIDEO: American B-52 Bomber Flies Over Croatia

August 29, 2020 – Escorted by MiG-21 aircraft from Croatia's 191st Fighter Squadron, the US giant scored the skies as part of joint NATO activity

Earlier today, an American Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber made for impressive viewing as it flew in skies above Croatia. Flanked by two Croatian MiG-21's, the display was part of joint NATO activity which saw a total of six American B-52 planes fly over all NATO member countries in North America and Europe in one day.

The B-52 is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. Built by Boeing, it has been in service for the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1955. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons and can travel more than 8,800 miles (14,080 km) without refuelling. 58 of the planes are still in active service for the USAF, with 18 further in reserve, and approximately 12 more in long-term storage.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Banozic: Further Modernisation of Croatian Military Is a Priority

ZAGREB, July 21, 2020 - The future Minister of Defence, Mario Banozic, said on Tuesday that the priorities in his department would be further modernisation of the armed forces, development of infrastructure, and personnel training.

"It will definitely be the continuation of modernisation of the Croatian army, training, development of infrastructure, including accommodation and other capacities necessary for the Croatian army to be the pride of Croatia," Banozic told reporters ahead of the last meeting of the outgoing government.

He said that despite defence budget cuts, salaries for military personnel would not be reduced and should be increased.

Banozic has served as the Minister of State Assets in the outgoing government.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Croatian Navy to Purchase Patrol Vessels, Rockets and Radars?

The Croatian military, in its various segments, has been making some rather large purchases of late, and it seems that there's no plan to stop at just aircraft as the Croatian Navy plans some major purchases.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of November, 2018, Croatian naval priorities have been quickly swung to the acquisition of new or modernised radar systems with support of unmanned systems (UAVs) and the desire for five to even ten patrol vessels.

For the period between 2024 to 2026, the procurement of an offshore patrol boat of a modular design has been planned, which would also boast a helicopter landing platform. This would enable the Croatian Navy (HRM) to step out into the Mediterranean as well, given the fact that such vessels can spend weeks, even months out of their home port, according to a report from Večernji list.

The Croatian Navy also intends to acquire a few (two to three) new or modernised ships for underwater surveillance (so-called mine-hunters), and the absolute priority is to procure a new anti-ship (missile) system, the planned successor to the current Swedish RBS-15, whose remaining rockets will be out of function in the next five to seven years.

In its plan, the Croatian Navy intends to procure and own up to ten such patrol ships over the next ten years, with the remark that after the construction of five new ones, the purchase five more used ones can follow. The price stands at about ten million euros per copy, and they will gradually replace the OB class "Mirna", which were built back in the early 1980's.

It has been deemed that the Croatian Navy should be equipped with a minimum of two large patrol vessels, of up to 1,500 tons in weight. These ships should have multiple uses, ranging from war uses, such as anti-aircraft uses, as well as to be able to perform tasks from the Coast Guard's domain. The multipurpose ships will also have platforms for the installation of new anti-ship rocket systems, and a load displacement of about 1,500 tons would also enable the accommodation of a scout helicopter which would significantly increase the ship's monitoring capabilities at sea.

Considering that the fact that the Adriatic sea is a vitally important naval corridor to Western Europe, with main ports in the north, underwater surveillance for the Republic of Croatia is just as important as the surveillance of the airspace and the ability to react promptly in terms of so-called ''air-policing."

Otherwise, over the past ten years, the Croatian Navy has unfortunately failed to realise any major modernisation project that was put into any longterm plan.

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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

PHOTOS: Croatian Air Force Mounts Cannon Replica on Lovrijenac

A dose of history today as the Croatian Air Force mounts a replica cannon with enormous historical significance on Lovrijenac fortress.

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