Four former Soviet satellites in Central Europe signed a military pact Friday to coordinate defense planning and to create a joint combat unit to operate under NATO and EU auspices, in response to the Ukraine crisis.
“The current situation in Europe shows that unfortunately a military conflict, previously considered unthinkable, could happen,” Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said at a meeting of the Visegrad 4 (V4) group of countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Speaking in Visegrad, Hungary, he said the Ukraine crisis showed the importance of “more dynamic cooperation” between the V4 countries within NATO and the European Union.
The “V4-EU” combat unit would only be ready to take part in NATO or EU operations by 2016, however, he said, adding that V4 military cooperation was “unique” within the NATO military alliance.
Europe’s defense capabilities can be “improved,” he told a news conference.
Hungarian Defense Minister Csaba Hende said that the joint body would comprise 3,000 soldiers contributed by the four countries.