Thursday, 27 June 2019

Croatia and Britain to Increase Defence Cooperation

ZAGREB, June 27, 2019 - Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and the Britain's Defence State Secretary, Penelope Mary Mordaunt, on Wednesday met on the margins of a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels for the talks on boosting bilateral cooperation.

Mordaunt confirmed the intention of Great Britain to sign documents regulating strategic partnership with Croatia in the field of defence, the Croatian ministry said in a press release.

Zagreb perceives Great Britain as one of its strategic partners in terms of security and defence cooperation, as evidenced by the fact that 2,000 British troops have participated in international military exercises Swift Response and Immediate Response on Croatia's soil this year.

In Brussels, Krstičević and Mordaunt signed a memorandum of understanding by which they agreed to cooperate on the acquisition of Land Battle Decisive Munitions. To date, defence ministers of 16 NATO member nations, and three partner nations, have signed that MoU.

More news about relations between Croatia and Great Britain can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Croatia and Italy Announce Defence Cooperation

ZAGREB, June 19, 2019 - Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević met with his Italian counterpart Elisabetta Trenta in Rome on Wednesday during the first official visit of a Croatian defence minister to Italy after 15 years, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Krstičević and Trenta expressed their satisfaction with increasing cooperation, which is mostly evident in traditional cooperation between the two countries' navies. Croatian and Italian naval forces are currently participating in the international military exercise Adrion 2019 Livex.

In order to further strengthen the bilateral defence cooperation, the two ministers announced that a new defence cooperation agreement would be signed soon.

As European Union members, Italy and Croatia are participating in four PESCO projects and in European firefighting forces. In 2017, Croatia provided two firefighting planes to help Italy in putting out fires in the Genoa region, and in 2018 and 2019 Croatian troops were attached to the Italian contingent as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The two ministers agreed that there was a lot of potential for advancing defence cooperation, especially in the defence industry.

"Croatia has a high-quality military industry and Italian soldiers have had a chance to see the exceptional quality and functionality of the Croatian helmet for themselves," Krstičević said.

The meeting also focused on the current security and political situation in Southeastern Europe, with Krstičević reaffirming Croatia's commitment to the EU and NATO's enlargement policy and readiness to provide further support to membership aspirants.

As part of the official visit, the Croatian delegation visited the Vatican and met with the Holy Father, and were also scheduled to visit the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome in Rome, according to the press release issued by the Mnistry.

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

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Croatian Armed Forces Mark Anniversary

ZAGREB, May 29, 2019 - Addressing a special ceremony held in Zagreb on Tuesday on the occasion of Croatian Armed Forces' Day, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is the supreme commander, underscored that opinion polls showed that "the Croatian people has the highest confidence in the Croatian army among all state institutions".

In the last three years, we have achieved a lot. By increasing the defence budget, we have created requirements for an increased investment in the Croatian army and thus in the future of the Croatian state, she said.

She spoke about the importance of continuing to upgrade the armed forces not as a means of force but as the guarantor of peace and prosperity of Croatia.

"We are restoring the Croatian Army to its splendour and the dignity of each member of the army by improving the conditions of their work and life," Grabar-Kitarović said.

Croatian Armed Forces' day is held on 28 May in memory of the very first line-up of the Croatian National Guard (ZNG) and special units of the Croatian Interior Ministry at the stadium in Zagreb's Kranjčevićeva Street on 28 May 1991.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that over the past 28 years, the Croatian Armed Forces "have shown their capability of transformation and permanent adjustment and flexibility so as to be ready to carry out their constitutional tasks and protect national interests".

He said that nowadays the armed forces are able to respond to possible security threats and challenges from the complex, immediate and global environment.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević described the Croatian army as "a powerful and respectable arm and the guarantor of peace and security". "We are making our victorious army stronger and stronger and we are achieving new top-notch capabilities".

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

Monday, 27 May 2019

Senior Officials Attend Changing of the Honour Guard Ceremony

ZAGREB, May 27, 2019 - Senior state officials and delegations of the Defence Ministry and the Croatian Army attended on Sunday, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Armed Forces, Croatian Army Day and Land Forces Day, a changing of the Honour Guard ceremony and a display of the guards' acrobatic feats.

"I am glad the incumbent government restored the changing of the Honour Guard ceremony, which is in the service of the identity of the Croatian state, Homeland War values, popularisation of the military profession and is a tourist attraction," Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said after the ceremony.

The Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff, General Mirko Šundov, who also attended the ceremony, said that the army was maintaining its current capabilities and investing in its modernisation and equipment.

"We will continue developing capabilities of the Land Forces and their mobility, and will continue working so that the Navy gets a new vessel and the Air Force combat aircraft as soon as possible," said Šundov.

The commander of the Land Forces, Brigadier General Siniša Jurković, said that the army had returned to Vukovar, Varaždin, Pula and Sinj, and that this year it would also return to Ploče.

"The army has returned to those cities to the mutual satisfaction of soldiers and citizens, and the advantages are visible, soldiers' motivation is greater because they perform their tasks better being close to their families," said Jurković.

Participating in the ceremony of the Honour Guard changing were three officers in black-and-white historical uniforms and 26 soldiers and non-commissioned officers in red-and-black historical uniforms.

The Honour Guard Battalion was established in 1990 and existed until 2000.

It performs ceremonial tasks for top-level state and military officials, as well as tasks related to the protection and security of the Commander-in-Chief, President of the Republic of Croatia.

Changing of the guard ceremonies will be held outside the government headquarters in St. Mark's Square in the period from May 26 to October 8 on Saturdays and holidays, except in cases of heavy rainfall.

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

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Croatian Army Marks 28th Anniversary

ZAGREB, May 26, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Sunday, after laying wreaths and lighting candles at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Armed Forces and Croatian Army Day, that Croatia today remembers the history of its army of which Croatians must be proud as it is the guarantor of peace and stability.

Krstičević and his associates laid wreaths and lit candles at the graves of former defence ministers Gojko Šušak and Martin Špegelj, former army chiefs of staff Petar Stipetić and Zvonimir Čermak, former Air Force commander Imra Agotić, and Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman.

Also present at the wreath laying ceremony were Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Croatian President's envoy Zrinko Petener, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić, Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Croatian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mirko Šundov.

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

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Croatia Remains Determined to Procure Fighter Jets

ZAGREB, May 23, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Thursday the government remained resolute to resolve the strategic issue of procuring fighter jets and that it was discussing it with Sweden and the US.

Speaking to the press after the government adopted a defence report for 2018, he said the incumbent government was bolstering and modernising the Croatian army in a systematic and organised way.

Krstičević said Croatia and future generations needed fighter aircraft, and that the procurement of fighter jets would be a huge technological step forward for the Croatian army.

He said that after talks with Israel failed, the procurement was being discussed with the US and Sweden. "When we have concrete information, we will inform the public in a timely manner."

In selecting the best bid, the team of experts in charge will "think of what is best for Croatia," he said. Asked which bid the government was more inclined to, he would not "speculate" and said "there's time."

"We approximately know what the prices are," the minister said, adding that in the procurement attempt with Israel and based on Bulgaria's and Slovakia's fighter aircraft purchases, Croatia had gained the necessary experience and that the crucial thing was that the government was determined to resolve this issue.

The government on Thursday also sent to parliament a bill of amendments to the Defence Act which regulates the establishment of a multinational helicopter crew training centre in Zemunik as well as rules of action in cyberspace for the requirements of the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces.

The amendments are in line with Croatia's commitments as a member of NATO and international organisations, said Defence Minister Damir Krstičević.

The training centre will be the first of its kind in Croatia, for which purpose the US will provide two new Black Hawk helicopters worth 350 million kuna, he said, adding that an excellence centre would also be established in Zemunik.

The government also endorsed a defence report for 2018, with Krstičević saying it noted a further increase in the defence budget begun in 2017. "The Croatian army is a brand in international missions and operations and our members continue to bolster our country's reputation every day," he said.

More news about the aircraft procurement can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Homeland Security System Successful in Crises

ZAGREB, May 21, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday the Security 19 exercise showed how the homeland security system and the synergy of all stakeholders acted successfully in crises and in inaccessible terrain.

Speaking at Divulje Air Base after the exercise was held, he said, "It was impressive to see the air and naval forces, the good vehicles firemen have, the army support and the police security. This was indeed high-tech progress."

He said the communication equipment of the Transmitters and Communications and Croatian Forests companies was integrated into the fire protection system.

Speaking of the upgraded homeland security system, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said the system was a government brand and that only with it could Croatia deal with all the contemporary threats.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović said Security 19 was a great example of how to build a protection and rescue system. The system gets better, more coherent and more efficient by the year and more and more attention is paid to prevention, he added.

The coordination of all the forces which took part in today's exercise, held in Zadar, Šibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties, is excellent and Croatia is ready for the summer fire season, it was said.

More national security news can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Croatia Searching for Fighter Jets Again, Negotiations with USA and Sweden

The recent fighter jet story was a bit of a flop (yes, that's an understatement) for Croatia, but it seems that not all is lost, despite the entire situation having been made the butt of numerous jokes ever since.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of May, 2019, a delegation from Sweden was led by an individual from FMV, a state-run company that deals with arms export operations.

Throughout 2019, the Croatian Government will try its hand at yet another attempt to procure some fighter jets. It appears, despite the total and utter failure to reach a deal with Israel and Croatia's previously desired acquisition of some F16's, that the government just isn't giving up on its plans.

As Vecernji list reports, after the Croatian Military Delegation returned from the United States over a month ago from the initial round of talks about the aircraft, the same type of initial meeting was held on the 8th of May, but with the Swedes, in which Croatia's "interest" was activated once again, this time for the purchase of the JAS-39 Gripen.

The delegation to the United States was headed by General Mirko Šundov, while Robert Hranj was placed in charge of the talks on the specific topic of the aircraft. All that was found out after that was that from the American side, no offers on the aircraft had been made.

As for the Swedes, they showed somewhat greater ambition. As Croatia's delegation had returned from the United States visibly disappointed, and they'd even heard that the Americans were astonished when they realised that Croatia still had a firm intention to acquire those jets, MORH set up a similar meeting, but this time with the Swedes.

As stated, the delegation from Sweden was led by an individual from FMV, which is a state-run company that runs and deals with arms export operations. In addition, there was also a representative of SAAB, the manufacturer of the JAS-39 Gripen aircraft. The Croatian delegation consisting of ten persons was headed by Hranj.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Friday, 17 May 2019

17 US helicopters Land at Udbina Military Compound

ZAGREB, May 17, 2019 - Seventeen US Air Force helicopters landed at the Udbina military compound on Friday afternoon to participate in the Immediate Response 19 military exercise which is being held in Croatia, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

Twelve UH-60 Black Hawk and five CH-47 Chinook helicopters arrived from the Aviano base in Italy and are due to participate in an air assault in the Slunj Military Training Area later on Friday.

The Immediate Response 2019 is a multinational exercise, co-led by the Croatian Armed Forces, Slovenian Armed Forces and U.S. Army Europe, taking place from May 10 to June 7, at various locations throughout Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia, the US Army Europe said on its website.

The part of the exercise that is being held in Croatia will include 1,600 troops from Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, the United States, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy and Germany.

The entire exercise is being planned and coordinated by the US Army Europe Command (USEUCOM) with focus on exercising forces from countries comprising the US-Adriatic Charter known as the A-5 Initiative.

The Croatian army is participating in the IR19 exercise with its PATRIA mechanised company, a command company, a support company and a military police platoon, the Defence Ministry said.

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

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Rudolf Perešin MiG-21 Put on Display Outside Defence Ministry

ZAGREB, May 12, 2019 - A ceremony was held outside the Defence Ministry building in Zagreb on Sunday to formally mark the return of a MiG-21 fighter jet with which Croatian pilot Rudolf Perešin defected from the Yugoslav Air Force in October 1991.

Perešin flew the plane from a Yugoslav Air Force base near the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihać to Klagenfurt, Austria, which was seen as an act of moral victory at the start of Serbian military aggression against Croatia in 1991. The plane was returned to Zagreb earlier this month and will remain on display outside the Defence Ministry until the end of May, after which it will be relocated to the Croatian Air Force base at Pleso.

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the plane was one of the main symbols of the 1991-1995 Homeland War, adding that its return after 28 years of quiet diplomacy and government efforts was a mark of honour to all Croatian veterans and their families.

"The story of Rudolf Perešin and this plane is a story of freedom. It must remain with us forever. The message Rudolf Perešin sent in October 1991 to Croatian defenders, the entire Croatian nation and the entire world, is a message of freedom, courage, strength, boldness and patriotism. That message is again with us here today," the prime minister said.

Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said: "This plane is a living piece of history and a symbol of the start of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Air Force, a symbol of victory, resistance against aggression and the fight of the Croatian nation for its independence. Its return is of an immeasurable value to our country."

Rudolf Perešin decided to leave the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) on 25 October 1991, undertaking a risky flight from Bihac to Klagenfurt. He was later quoted by media as saying: "I am Croatian, I cannot and won't shoot at Croatians."

Perešin was killed on 2 May 1995 during Operation Flash in the Western Slavonia region when his MiG was shot down by Serb anti-aircraft artillery. His remains were found only two and a half years later, and he was given a formal burial at Zagreb's Mirogoj Cemetery in 1997.

More news about the Homeland War can be found in the Politics section.

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