At Adazi Base in the south-west of the country
The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, and the Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD), Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, travelled today to Latvia to visit the Spanish contingent deployed in the south of the country as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) operation, where they stressed the importance of its work in contributing to deterrence on the Alliance’s eastern flank.
In an address to the members of the contingent, Robles stressed that their work is “essential” and “highlights Spain’s commitment to work so that all NATO allies and all citizens of the world know that Spain is committed to the values and defence of our freedoms and peace, which is why you are here”.
“These six months that they are going to spend here are going to be hard and complicated, because just a few kilometres away there is a war, a human drama that no one can remain insensitive to”, added Robles, who extended her thanks to the families of the deployed soldiers, who must remain away from them for such a long time.
For his part, the JEMAD underlined the unit’s professionalism and its operability, which, he said, makes it “at the forefront of training”.
“You should be aware that this daily exercise, done well, has an immediate operational impact, which is deterrence. It is important that what is happening in Ukraine does not spread to other parts of Europe, and that is achieved by what you do here every day,” said the JEMAD.
Robles and the JEMAD landed at Riga airport, where they were received by the Spanish ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, Manuel Alhama. They then moved on to the Adazi manoeuvre field, where they were welcomed by the head of the Adazi base and the Latvian brigade, Colonel Sendris Gaugers, and the head of the Spanish contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Javier Armada. Both have highlighted the great work of the Spanish contingent.
The eFP XII contingent took command of the Spanish mission in Latvia on 13 January, taking over from the troops deployed for the past six months. Its generating base unit is the ‘Guadarrama’ XII Brigade, located at the ‘El Goloso’ (Madrid) and ‘El Empecinado’ (Valladolid) bases, integrated into the ‘Castillejos’ Division of the Land Force.
Following the situation created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Spain decided to reinforce the contingent deployed in Latvia, which currently has more than 600 troops, who, according to the head of the Spanish contingent, “are making a daily effort to maintain the very high level achieved by their predecessors”.
“We are prepared to fulfil our mission of deterrence and, if necessary, to defend the territory from any aggression,” said Lieutenant Colonel Armada, who presented the minister with a replica of the first tank that entered service with the Spanish Armed Forces 101 years ago and with a script of the contingent.