Today, at the Krivolak Military Range, Defence Minister Radmila Shekerinska and the Defence Minister of Montenegro, Predrag Boskovic, visited the members of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Army of Montenegro, who, as part of the “Decisive Strike” exercise, carried out artillery live firing with mortars.
Ministers Shekerinska and Boskovic expressed their satisfaction with the course of the exercise, which began on 5 June and ends tomorrow, 9 July.
“This exercise will not only be the largest exercise in our country, but definitely one of the most successful as well. Despite the large logistical challenge, we managed to show good results both in the organization and in the realization of the exercise”, Minister Shekerinska said.
The Minister stressed that as a result of this exercise, two improvements and advancements have been carried out on the function of Military Range Krivolak – the reconstruction of the railway track to the military range, which has not been reconstructed since the eighties of the last century, as well as the constant control of the environment during the carrying out of the exercise.
“In cooperation with Railways, we managed to renovate the section of the railway that goes to Krivolak, thus enabling the bulk of the transport in the future to be realized by rail, and not through the general road infrastructure. This is good for the Army because we are more efficient, but it is also good for the state, because we free the state from the need to use the road infrastructure to transport such armament. Most of the vehicles at the end of the exercise will leave by train”, the Minister said.
Shekerinska informed that during the carried out tests of the environment, together with the AMBICON laboratory of the University “Goce Delchev” from Shtip and the Institute for Public Health, it was determined that the activities of the exercise have not caused harmful consequences to the nature and the citizens and their health.
Environmental monitoring, the minister said, will become a standard for carrying out such exercises.
Montenegrin Minister Boskovic congratulated our country on the successful process of accession to the Alliance, on the quick dynamic of ratifications and expressed expectation that by the end of this year, the 30th member state will sit as a full member at NATO’s joint table.
Minister Boskovic stressed that the whole defence cooperation confirms the common interests and common values. Regarding the relationship between North Macedonia and Montenegro, he said that it can serve as an example for many others in the region of the Western Balkans.
“Montenegro was an unselfish promoter of the interests of North Macedonia when it came to NATO membership, and today from my colleague I received two studies that show that there is no pollution to the environment on the area where shooting is carried out, which is for us very important considering that there is a plan in our country to open a military range which is of great public interest”, Boskovic said.
Professor Dejan Mirakovski, Vice-rector of the University “Goce Delchev” in Shtip and Head of the Field Laboratory for Living and Working Environment “AMBICON”, explained that the permanent monitoring showed that there is no pollution to the environment from exercise activities.
“The monitoring was permanent from 30 May until 30 June. The concentrations of suspended solids were measured in real time. In general, none of the results exceeded the allowed norms for a 24-hour value. On average, they range from 20-30 micrograms per cubic meter. On one of the locations in the soldiers’ camp a gravimetric sampler was placed, which serves to check the chemical composition of the dust. All inorganic elements were analyzed – this means typical dust, corresponding to the geological origin of the ground in the zone of Krivolak. None of the heavy metals are over the permissible, they are even absent in some locations”, explained Professor Mirakovski.
The exercise “Decisive Strike”, with participation of over 2,700 army members from six countries – North Macedonia, the United States, Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Montenegro, ends tomorrow. This exercise was a great opportunity for developing the interoperability of our Army with the armed forces of the participating countries, which are also member states of the Alliance. At the same time, our country, as the host of the exercise, showed that it has the experience and capacity to organize large and complex exercises, in a military range that has all the necessary conditions for carrying out this type of field exercises.