Close to 1,800 Portuguese military could be mobilised within the next few days to take part in NATO’s dissuasive mission within allied countries on Ukraine’s borders.
Yesterday’s meeting of the Superior Council of National Defence gave the green-light to Portuguese military participation, albeit there is no question for now of acting within Ukraine.
The soldiers will be made up of contingents from all three arms of the military (Air Force, Navy and Army).
The time limit appears to be the next five days.
Said prime minister António Costa after yesterday’s meeting: “The composition of military force is being defined. NATO will identify the concrete measures that need to be used, and where.
So far, all we’re being told is that the Portuguese military participation will involve ‘rapid response intervention forces’ making up just over 1,000 men, ready to set out on Monday; a Naval frigate, six F16 fighter jets, a P-3C plane, a ‘mechanised battalion’ involving 609 soldiers and 159 vehicles), Naval divers and what is described as a ‘civil military unit of cooperation (involving 11 people).
In a second phase – again up to NATO, and forecast for ‘30 days’ time – another 472 military could be dispatched, along with 36 tactical vehicles and two Naval war ships.
“Without a date defined there would be another 207 military, four tactical vehicles and another Naval vessel” to be sent, add reports, all these forces being under the commands of Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Admiral António Silva Ribeiro.
Also on the table is the possibility of the United States reinforcing its use of Lajes naval base, in the Azores, for the storage and maintenance of munitions and conventional explosives”, says the paper.
Meantime, there have been protests by Ukrainians living in Portugal, desperate to drum up as much help and support as possible, while PM António Costa has confirmed that ‘concrete work opportunities for Ukrainian refugees’ that may arrive in Portugal are already being identified.