SAF's 20 years of intl missions as troops leave for Latvia
Lovrenc na Pohorju, 5 December - In June, Slovenia sent a contingent of 47 Slovenian soldiers to Latvia to join NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission, which is designed as defence and deterrence in Central and Eastern Europe in a changed security situation in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. Operating under Canada's command, the Slovenian nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological defence unit operates alongside troops from Latvia, Albania, Italy, Poland and Spain. The Slovenian government endorsed the deployment of up to 50 Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) troops to NATO's battalion group in Latvia in February, arguing it proved the country's solidarity, responsibility and credibility as a NATO member. Up to four Slovenian contingents serving six months each are planned to be deployed there. The opposition Left opposed the deployment pointing out it would harm relations with Russia and it even spoke of a revival of the Cold War. The deployment coincided with this year's 20th anniversary of Slovenia's troops taking part in international missions - in 1997 they joined humanitarian mission Alba in Albania. Since then, more than 11,000 SAF soldiers have participated in multiple missions abroad, including in Afghanistan.