“This is a great day for the Army, for the Macedonian defence, but this is a great day for our strategic partnership with the United States. Together with the United States and their armed forces we are planning the development of Krivolak, we are working together on the development of Krivolak, and this spring we will continue to use it together as a phenomenal, not only local national capacity, but as a NATO capacity”, stressed Minister Shekerinska, who today visited Military Range Krivolak together with US Ambassador Kate Byrnes, where they were briefed on the upcoming activities of the engineering units from both countries that will contribute to the development of this military range.
Minister Shekerinska added that in the middle of next month it is expected for the 15th Engineering Battalion of the US Army to arrive and together with our engineers to continue working on the development of the military range.
“This is what it means to be an alliance in practice, and this shows that we know how to plan together, together we can invest in the building of Krivolak, but all with the key goal of being better allies and conducting joint exercises and joint combat operations together”.
She added that the realization of these activities is in fact preparation for the large exercise “Decisive Strike – 21″, which will be participated by about 2000 members of the armies of North Macedonia, USA, Greece, Bulgaria. Shekerinska said that on today’s briefing she and Ambassador Byrnes were informed about the plan for development of the military range for this and the next years when new exercise activities will be realized, but also about the possibilities that the military range will offer to all allies seeking such a large exercise area.
“Today we will have the opportunity to see how far the work with the engineers has gone, however I believe that the main message is that when you are part of a strong alliance like NATO and when you have allies you can count on – you get better”, Shekerinska said.
US Ambassador Kate Byrnes said that she was impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the soldiers, but also by the way they prepared for the realization of the “Decisive Strike” exercise.
“Every US unit that has had the opportunity to exercise here in Krivolak, the engineers, the planners, all have only words of praise for the potential of this military range and for the possibility of this military range to host effective and realistic combat exercises. Military Range Krivolak is a unique value for North Macedonia, it is not only a location for you to develop your army and the efforts for modernization and preparation for new equipment such as the JLTV and Stryker, but also an opportunity to carry out even more complex exercises with all your regional partners and allies in NATO, including the United States. We are pleased to be able to see your investment in the military range, we are very pleased with your approach with regard to the possibility for future exercises, and that is one of the reasons why, as the Minister said, we also invest in Krivolak because we believe it is not only an excellent opportunity for the exercise that follows and which will be very impressive, but also an opportunity for sustainable development of Krivolak, that will enable it to be used for complex regional operations and exercises in the future”, – said Byrnes.