Czech anti-chemical troops join security force in Athens

Athens, photo: CTK

The second batch of Czech soldiers left for Greece on Wednesday to take part in the massive security operations at the Olympic Games in Athens. In all, some 100 Czech soldiers specialised in anti-biological and chemical warfare will guard the city from August 1 to September 30, when the Paralympics end. The one million Euro mission (30.3 million Czech crowns) is to be covered by the Czech Republic, Greece, and the NATO alliance.

Athens, photo: CTK
Radio Prague spoke to Major General Emil Pupis, to find out what exactly the Czech contingent will be doing to help optimize security:

"It's really the first time that NATO has been asked to support such a highly visible event as the Olympic Games. I think it's a quite an understandable issue just when international terrorism is a real threat to all of civilisation."

The Czech chemical and biological warfare unit left for Athens on Wednesday. What will their workload entail?

"The Czech part of the task force offers their chemical and radiological reconnaissance and laboratory capabilities. Afterwards they will offer their vehicle and personnel decontamination capabilities, and they will be in charge of the co-ordination of all assets and contributions, from other nations as well."

You just mentioned other nations; the Czech soldiers will be cooperating with units from other countries, such as Italy, Spain, Poland, and Hungary. What kind of cooperation are we talking about?

"We are to build up the headquarters of the task force to establish contact with the Greek authorities and carry out all the work connected with the commanded control of particular elements of this task force. It is given by our position as a leading nation for the CBRN - the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear multinational battalion."