Canada talks with allies about sending more troops to Eastern Europe: Anand

Defense Minister Ottawa-Anita Anand believes it is important for the government to strengthen the eastern side of NATO in response to Russia’s military buildup, and discussions have been made on increasing Canada’s military presence in Eastern Europe. It states that it is in progress.

Still, the minister speaking from Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday was the last stop on a trilateral tour, including a visit to NATO headquarters in Ukraine and Brussels, and did not say when the Canadian decision would come. ..

“At this point, we are considering options to strengthen in Eastern Europe,” Anand told the Canadian press, “we are working with our allies and coordinating across the alliance.”

Anand’s comments followed a meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Krishyanis Karish. Just as the United States has become the latest NATO member to deploy additional troops into the region in response to Russia’s fears of invading Ukraine.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said 2,000 additional US troops will be deployed in Poland and Germany, and an additional 1,000 will be moved from Germany to Romania, demonstrating US commitment to NATO’s allies.

Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands have also increased their military power in Eastern Europe in recent weeks with the deployment of additional troops, fighters and warships.

Since 2017, Canada has about 600 troops leading the NATO battlegroup in Latvia and about 200 military trainers in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that Canada would extend its training mission in Ukraine for another three years, adding another 60 trainers as part of a series of military aid, including night vision goggles and armored vests.

However, Ottawa has not yet responded to Latvia’s call for reinforcements from Canada and other NATO allies.

Anand reassures friends and allies that Canada continues to be on par with them, even if one of her goals during her stay in Europe is to discuss what Canada can do further in the region. I said that.

“This is certainly one of the purposes of my trip … to make sure we are coordinating across the NATO alliance and to reassure our allies that Canada exists. And Canada , We are closely tracking the situation just in case. “

At the same time, she described Canada’s current military contributions in Latvia as a “huge development.”

Anand’s visit to Europe takes place amid stagnation in negotiations between the United States, NATO and Russia over Moscow’s military buildup at the Ukrainian border, and fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to invade Ukraine. Is growing throughout Europe.

Smaller NATO countries like Latvia on the eastern side of the alliance are concerned about the following possibilities, but say Russia has no intention of initiating a conflict and is ready to continue its diplomatic efforts.

Putin accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s central security demands in its first public statement about standoffs for more than a month.

These demands, totally rejected by NATO, include not allowing Ukraine to form a transatlantic military alliance and promising NATO to withdraw all troops from Eastern Europe. This includes Canadian-led battlegroups in Latvia.

But Putin also said Moscow is ready to continue discussions to ease tensions over Ukraine, and the possibility of Russia’s aggression may not be imminent, with at least one more diplomacy taking place. It suggests that there is a possibility.

Anand accused the Kremlin of launching this latest crisis by deploying an army of 100,000 on the Ukrainian border, saying it was up to Russia to ease the situation and work towards a diplomatic solution. rice field.

“Russia’s choice to choose diplomatic deescalation is at the table,” she said. “The security of NATO allies, including the Baltic states, is not negotiable.”

Along Lee Berthiaume

Canadian press