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Apr 21
2021

Mitsotakis: Greece will continue to strengthen its defense capabilities

“Greece is a foundation of stability and security in the wider region”, stressed the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a statement after his visit to the Andravida Air Base where he attended part of the multinational interdisciplinary exercise “INIOCHOS 21”.

Mr. Mitsotakis pointed out that our country “is a protagonist in the confrontations, but also in the discussions, in the defense deterrence, but also in the peaceful settlement, with its permanent interest in the national interest and the International Law”.

“Greece will always promote a positive agenda”based on common values, compliance with international law and the law of the sea, the rules of good neighborliness and mutual respect that should always govern relations between modern countries”, the prime minister continued and added: “The same moment, we can not be naive. We are facing a new set of threats. “Our world is extremely complex and our neighborhood, unfortunately, is becoming more unstable.”
«Greece will continue to strengthen its defense capabilities and upgrade its armed forces. We will continue to meet the target set by NATO for spending equal to 2% (of GDP). “And we will continue to participate in exercises in the wider region and to strengthen the cooperation between our defense forces”, concluded Mr. Mitsotakis.

The Prime Minister, together with the political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defense, had the opportunity to see up close the combat and deterrent power of the Greek Armed Forces. He welcomed the military representation of the friendly countries and watched impressive overflights and maneuvers of the fighter jets, while he also visited the place where the crews participating in the exercise are hosted and received as a gift a jacket with the insignia of this year’s exercise.

Mr. Mitsotakis also presented awards to the two winners in the Mixed Series of the School of Tactical Weapons for the years 2019 and 2020, Squadron Leaders Christos Petropoulos and Georgios Kontofakas, as well as Squadron Leader Anastasios Andronidakis, who won the NATO / Best WarLor 2020 title .

The annual exercise “INIOCHOS” reflects the strategic position of Greece in the wider region of the Mediterranean Basin and its close cooperation with many countries in the region, with the aim of security and peacekeeping.

The exercise takes place throughout the Athens FIR range with the participation of Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighters from France, F-16 from the United Arab Emirates, F / A 18 Hornet from Spain, and F-15 and F-16 from Israel. The United States has sent F-16s, MQ-9 drones and KC-135 flying tankers. Canada participates with CGI – Air Weapon Managers system, while Cyprus has sent an AW 139 helicopter. Five more countries are participating as observers: Austria, Egypt, Jordan, Romania and Slovenia.

The Greek Air Force participates with every type of fighter it has in its fleet (F-16, M-2000, M-2000-5, F-4), air defense equipment, electronic warfare instruments and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The Navy is taking part with frigates, Rapid Guided Missile Patrols, artillery, general support ships, helicopters and Naval Operation Aircraft. CH-64D Chinook helicopters.

Shortly before the end of his visit to Andravida, the Prime Minister had a brief but very warm conversation with the pilots serving in the 347th Squadron of the 111th Battle Wing, in Almyros, Magnesia, where 29 years ago (in the 111th Battle Wing and in the 346th then fate) Kyriakos Mitsotakis served the entire length of his military service.

As he commented, many things have changed since then but what has not changed is the mindset, self-denial and sense of duty with which Air Force officers and non-commissioned officers serve the Homeland.

The exercise was attended by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Minister of National Defense Alkiviadis Stefanis, the Secretary General of the Ministry of National Defense, Antonis Oikonomou, the Governor of Western Greece, Nektarios Farmakis, the Chief of General Staff, Chief of General Staff Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Charalambos Lalousis and Chief of General Staff Rear Admiral Stylianos Petrakis.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke with the Ambassador of the United States Geoffrey Pyatt and the ambassadors of the other countries that took part, as well as the countries – observers.

Source: Apostolos Chondropoulos, www.athina984.gr/