Prague - The Czech Republic is ready to send its chemical and biological protection unit to reinforce the defence of NATO´s eastern countries over the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, Chief-of-Staff Petr Pavel told Aktualne.cz news server today.
The deployment of 300 chemists in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland or Romania would costs approximately 200 million crowns a month, Pavel said.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said on Thursday the country can provide four Gripen fighter jets to reinforce the protection of the Baltic airspace or the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The chemists have been selected for the NATO Response Force, which Stropnicky mentioned last night, too.
Pavel said the Response Force commander will decide, which troops he wants to use. If he wants the Czech chemists, they are prepared to go, he added.
Next year, the Czechs will select the paratrooper unit from Chrudim, east Bohemia, for the NATO Response Force.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday the defence of allied countries will be strengthened. He said the Ukrainian crisis is a wake-up call for Europe to increase defence spending.
NATO wants to more protect the airspace over the Baltic states, reinforce its naval presence in the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. It says Russia has moved tens of thousands of soldiers to the border with Ukraine.
Rasmussen called on Moscow to stop destabilising Ukraine and make it clear it does not support the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists.