NATO Canada-led battlegroup in Latvia with “high preparation” in Russia’s tensions

Canada’s commander of the Ottawa-Latvian multinational battlegroup secures sufficient supplies for the army as heightened tensions between NATO’s military alliance and Russia have fueled fears of a new war in Europe. And says they are working to be able to talk to each other.

Canada has more than 500 troops in Latvia as part of its broader NATO relief mission, first launched in 2017, in response to concerns about Russia’s invasion across Eastern Europe.

The Canadian delegation includes an army of about 350, mainly from Val Cartier, Kenya, and forms the core of a powerful NATO battlegroup of 1,000 stationed in Camp Adaji, about 30 km northeast of Riga, the capital of Latvia. doing.

The battlegroup also includes military personnel and equipment from nine allies, including Poland, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, all under the command of the commander. Dan Richel.

In an interview with the Canadian Press on Thursday, Richell said that one of his main responsibilities since taking command last month was to enable various delegations to communicate quickly and accurately in the field. rice field.

“Currently, English is a second language for almost everyone in the combat group,” he said. “Obviously, they are all NATO members, so their tactics are generally the same. You need to make sure that everyone understands all the terms in the same way.”

Clear communication is important in the event of a Russian invasion, against which combat groups are specifically designed to defend. It is also important to make sure that the NATO army has fuel, ammunition and other supplies to fight.

Battlegroups are designed for conventional combat and mean combat with similar troops such as Russia. Canada’s contribution is primarily infantry with armored vehicles, while other partners provide tanks, artillery and other equipment.

“We all have very different equipment, different ammunition, and different equipment that requires different support,” Richell said. “It’s a challenge to think we’re dealing pretty well.”

The Canadian commander said the main focus of the combat group was to train and prepare for potential attacks, as it has been since its inception five years ago.

“The combat group itself is already a ready combat unit,” Richell said. “I recommend that what you see here today is very similar to what you see in other rotations.”

In addition to those dedicated to combat groups, Canada also has approximately 200 support personnel and Riga headquarters staff responsible for planning and coordinating the overall picture of NATO’s efforts in Latvia.

Similar battlegroups, led by the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, were established in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, respectively. The Liberal Party government said Canada will lead the mission in Latvia until at least March 2023.

The size of the battlegroup designed to prevent the invasion of Russia means that it will almost certainly be overwhelmed in a real war. Instead, their main purpose is to thwart Russia’s invasion, and the idea is that an attack on one person will draw in NATO as a whole.

After mobilizing about 100,000 troops on the Russian-Ukraine border in recent weeks, the Kremlin has called on the alliance to withdraw all troops from the region, including the Baltic countries and Poland.

Canada, the United States and other NATO members have rejected this request, raising concerns about armed conflict between the two countries that could begin in Ukraine and spread to other parts of Eastern Europe.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on Wednesday whether the government would repatriate Canadian troops from Latvia and Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack, emphasizing Canada’s commitment to NATO members of the Baltic countries.

“We are in Latvia to protect the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, Eastern European countries) from the invasion by Russian troops,” he said in French during the COVID-19 briefing in Ottawa. “We will continue the important work that NATO is doing to protect the Eastern Front.”

Along Lee Berthiaume

Canadian press