Canada to send troops to Eastern Europe, defence minister says
1 July 2016
Canada is preparing to send troops to Eastern Europe as part of NATO's mission there, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan confirmed on Thursday.
The Canadian Armed Forces will join the U.S., U.K. and Germany to set up a multinational battle group to bulk up the NATO presence in countries near Russia.
"We've gone from assurance and now to deterrence," Sajjan said in an interview with CTV News. "We'll lead, as a part of this, a battle group and other nations will contribute to it. What it shows is the interoperability and the solidarity that NATO brings to a deterrence mission."
Several news reports have identified Latvia as the location for the mission, but Sajjan said it would be up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to announce more details at the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland next weekend. Canada's contribution is expected to be between 500 and 1,000 soldiers.
Canada has had troops based in Poland as part of Operation Reassurance since April, 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, and the navy has conducted operations in the Black Sea. There are 200 Canadian Forces members deployed in Ukraine to help train soldiers there.
"The facts are before us. It's actually Russia that showed signs of aggression when it came to Crimea," Sajjan said. "[We're] doing what NATO was designed to do - making sure we have a strong collective security to be able to work together with our NATO partners, be able to have a responsible deterrence package at the same time as making sure that we as NATO members keep the dialogue open."
Sajjan just returned from NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels earlier this month, which were held to prepare for the summit at the end of next week.
The organization was on the mind of U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday during his visit to Ottawa.
"As your ally and as your friend, let me say that we’ll be more secure when every NATO member including Canada contributes its full share to our common security," Obama said in his speech to Parliament. "Because the Canadian Armed Forces are really good. And if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada."
Source : ctvnews.ca