Canada to send 1,000 soldiers to Latvia for NATO brigade

July 1, 2016 12:00 pm

The file photo shows Canadian troops during a drill in Ukraine.

will send 1,000 troops
to Latvia to join one of NATO’s battalions that are being assembled in
Eastern Europe in a show of force against Russia.

The Canadian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the country will “establish
and lead” a high-readiness brigade that will “contribute to NATO’s
enhanced forward presence in Eastern and Central Europe.”
The statement also said that further details regarding the deployment will be provided at the upcoming NATO summit in Poland.
The
Canadian soldiers will be part of a 4,000-strong NATO force that will
be deployed to the Baltic States and Poland in order to deter what is
claimed to be Russian threats.
The US, Germany and Britain will also send soldiers to join NATO’s four battalions in Eastern Europe.
“As
a responsible partner in the world, Canada stands side by side with its
NATO allies working to deter aggression and assure peace and stability
in Europe,” said Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Canada’s
decision reportedly came after US President Barack Obama urged Canada
to contribute more to NATO in a speech in the Canadian Parliament on
Wednesday.
NATO plans to expand its military presence in
Eastern Europe amid the conflict in Ukraine and has held numerous war
games recently.
Some 2,000 NATO forces began a large-scale military exercise in western Ukraine earlier this week and will last on July 8.
Last
month, NATO held another 10-day military drill, involving some 31,000
troops from Poland, the US and 17 other nations in Poland.
Russia,
wary of the increased presence of NATO troops close to its borders,
threatened to take unspecified measures to respond to the increased
activities by the Western military bloc.
NATO has stepped up its
military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with
Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula
re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.
Moscow
has repeatedly repudiated NATO’s expansion near its borders, saying
such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.
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