From 5 to 9 June, North Macedonia will host “Decisive Strike”, the largest exercise ever to be organized in our country. The exercise will be attended by over 2,700 members of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia and the armed forces of the United States, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
The Army of the Republic of North Macedonia participates with about 1,300 members, as many from the United States, the Army of Montenegro sends 75 members, 25 members from Albania and Bulgaria, and 10 from Lithuania.
In a statement after today’s briefing on the exercise, at Krivolak Range, Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska stressed that the organization of this, so far, largest exercise on the territory of our country shows our capacities, but also proves that the NATO partners trust North Macedonia.
“The fact that in our national exercise, which we are organizing and conducting ourselves, with the participation of six countries from which all others are already NATO members with over 2,700 members of these six armies, shows that we can, shows that we know and shows that we have created confidence” Minister Shekerinska said.
The Minister said the exercise will involve great interoperability and cooperation of 6, only yesterday, partner armies and allied armies as of the end of the year.
“Of course, our strategic partner, the United States, who are the second largest participant in the exercise, is a partner with whom we already collaborated and with whom we often exercised in the past, and therefore the trust they gave us with the organization of the exercise “Decisive Strike” was not by chance. The fact that we are going to have, for the first time, a really complex exercise, an exercise that unites many armies, an exercise that will be conducted both on land and in the air, I believe shows how quickly things change and that our army and our country are already functioning as a “de facto” member of the Alliance” the Minister said.
The US Defense Attaché in our country, Colonel Timothy Buchen pointed out that the United States and North Macedonia are strategic partners, that defense cooperation is strong and will become even stronger. Colonel Buchen pointed out that the United States strongly supports North Macedonia and its membership of NATO, that the process of ratification of the Accession Protocol has begun in the US Senate and is expected to be completed by this autumn.
He explained that most of the United States troops participating in the “Decisive Strike” exercise were from two battalions of the 56th Stryker Brigade, from the Pennsylvania National Guard.
“Your commitment to security proves that you will be a strong ally in NATO” Buchen added.
The Joint Operations Command Commander, Major General Pavle Arsoski stated at the press briefing that this exercise shows that Krivolak Range is an exceptional capacity both in terms of size and climatic conditions, and also infrastructure.
The Commander of the 56th Stryker Brigade, Colonel Michael Vegscheider underlined that during the exercise the Armed Forces will develop interoperability, exchange experiences and develop excellent cooperative relations. The Colonel added that the Krivolak training area has a huge potential and represents an excellent location for joint improvement of skills.
The Director of the exercise, Lt. Col. Igor Manasovski informed in detail about the planned activities and tasks that will take place until 9 July, when the exercise will officially end.