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Greek Defence Chief: Armed Forces to Assist in the Fight Against the Fires

ATHENS — "The Armed Forces are always there when things get tough. This time also, they will assist the state machinery, which has been mobilised in its entirety in the difficult battle that lies before us," National Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said on Thursday afternoon, during a press briefing outlining how the armed forces will assist in the prevention and management of wildfires.

"Given the crucial situation in the coming days on the front of the fires and after the morning meeting with the participation of the civil and military leadership of the national defence ministry at the Maximos Mansion, chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and held at his orders, it was decided that the Armed Forces will actively participate in the prevention and management of fires," Panagiotopoulos said.

The minister said that special emphasis will be given to the surveillance of high-risk areas throughout the country, from the air using all available aircraft and on the ground with intensive and continuous patrols by military troops, always in collaboration and coordination with the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the Hellenic Police.

The chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff General Konstantinos Floros referred to the measures already being taken by the armed forces in this direction, saying that patrols will be increased, as will surveillance from the air using both piloted aircraft and drones. He said that vehicles and naval units will also be supplied if people need to be evacuated.

"The Armed Forces have already, as a precaution and due to the forecast for dangerous weather conditions deployed a surveillance and intervention mechanism that is required and foreseen under the 'Xenokratis' plan," Floros reported.

He also noted that all requests made by the General Secretariat for Civil Defence were being met, while in recent days they had supplied 500 personnel, 63 vehicles, 39 helicopters and fire-fighting aircraft and for monitoring fire-stricken regions and those at risk of fire.

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