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“Hungary is a committed ally”

Text: Gábor Kálmánfi, László Szűcs | Photo: Photos by the authors |  16:45 March 10, 2022

On Wednesday, 9 March, a high-ranking delegation saw some phases of Operation Eastern Shield 2022 at several venues in Hungary.

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Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Major General Raimundo Rodriguez Roca, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Enablement of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and Admiral Robert Hranj, Chief of Defence of the Croatian Armed Forces visited the Forward Command Post of the Hungarian Defence Forces Command and were informed about the Operation Eastern Shield 2022 in Debrecen.

Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi (PhD), Commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces received Admiral Bauer, and held with him a closed-door discussion. The Chair of the NATO Military Committee met with State Secretary for Defence István Szabó and Lajos Kósa, Chairman of the Defence and Law Enforcement Committee of the National Assembly.

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After the discussion, the guests visited a border crossing point at Beregsurány, and the company deployed along the border section. In the afternoon, the program of the high-ranking delegation continued on the “zero point” firing range near Veszprém, where they were informed about the joint exercise of the American and Hungarian forces and the scope of cooperation. In what followed, the guests observed a complex phase coupled with a live fire exercise.: with air support provided by attack helicopters and Gripen fighter aircraft, the troops were practicing how to counter an attack launched during the execution of humanitarian tasks.

After the phase, Admiral Rob Bauer and Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi spoke highly of what they had seen. Admiral Rob Bauer said that he is personally convinced that we must always prepare for the unexpected and the impossible. “We must always be ready and prepared for all possible scenarios, we must never take anything as granted. This is especially important in these times when global security faces a serious threat. We are constantly preparing for situations that many people had believed to be a thing of the past”, said the admiral.

He added that his during his visit, he saw with his own eyes the visit convinced him that the Hungarian soldiers are characterized by commitment and professionalism. “They are always able to adapt to new circumstances, to modernize, restructure and recalibrate themselves”, emphasized the Chair of the NATO Military Committee.

Admiral Rob Bauer pointed out that during the day, he had opportunity to see the designated subunits of the HDF 25th György Klapka Infantry Brigade in action as part of an international force, during an exercise coupled with a live firing event. “This exercise strengthens cooperation with the forces of the Ministry of the Interior in the field of humanitarian assistance. Prior to the exercise, I saw at the eastern border the fantastic service of the Hungarian troops in conjunction with non-governmental organizations in the interest of dealing with the continuously increasing refugee crisis. It is evident that Hungary’s preparedness and willingness to act is stronger than ever. The Hungarian Defence Forces are ready to defend the sovereignty and the borders of the country”, added the admiral.

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According to Rob Bauer, over the last 23 years, Hungary has demonstrated that it is a loyal ally. By way of example, the Chair of the MC mentioned our country’s engagement in the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) program, and the fact that Hungary is the third largest troop contributing nation in terms of the size of its forces declared to the KFOR mission in Kosovo. Moreover, the admiral went on, since October 2021, Hungary has been the lead nation of KFOR, so it plays a very important role in the stability of the region. He also pointed out the importance of the Hungarian participation in the Baltic Air Policing mission, as well as the fact that the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine (MILMED COE, Budapest) and the Headquarters Multinational Division-Centre (HQ MND-C, Székesfehérvár) are also located in Hungary.

“I strongly welcome the modernization efforts of the Hungarian Defence Forces. Namely, I mean the National Defence and Armed Forces Development Program, the rebuilding of Hungarian defence industry and the gradual increase of the defence budget, which is to reach two per cent of the GDP by 2024”, underlined Admiral Bauer. He added that having well-trained, well-functioning national defence forces with adequate/appropriate equipment efficient decision-making structures meeting contemporary standards is not only in the interest of Hungary, but also contributes to the security of the North Atlantic Alliance.

“Who dares wins, as a Hungarian proverb goes. In order to dare to do something, we need courage, and our freedom is based on courage, too. I highly appreciate the courage of the Hungarian Defence Forces, and I am proud that they are a part of our band of brothers and sisters that consists of 3.2 million men and women in uniform in the Alliance”, this was how Admiral Rob Bauer closed his speech.

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Lieutenant General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi underlined that based on what they saw, it can be stated that the Hungarian Defence Forces are able to guarantee the citizens’ security, protect the state borders and after a short preparation, conduct joint operations with the allied forces of NATO member countries.

Among others, also present at the program were Dr. Árpád Vidoven, State Secretary for Public Administration, Ministry of Defence, Dr. Gáspár Maróth, Government Commissioner for Defence Development, Dr. Gergely Németh, Deputy State Secretary for Defence Policy, Dr. Renáta Korom, Deputy State Secretary for Legal and Administrative Issues, as well as Lieutenant General Dr. Gábor Böröndi, Head of the HDF Office of the Military Representative of Hungary.

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