ADAZI (dpa-AFX) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised NATO solidarity and further military assistance to the Baltic states during his visit to Latvia. Canada will continue to lead the NATO battle group in Latvia and expand the mission’s mandate, which will prematurely expire in 2023, Trudeau announced Tuesday at the Latvian military base in Adazi. This decision was made in view of the “continuous Russian offensive”.
“Canada will continue to be an ally and partner that helps protect our shared values,” Trudeau said during the troops visit with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and his allies Krysjanis Karins (Latvia) and Pedro Sánchez (Spain). “The soldiers here are not only defending Latvia or Eastern Europe, they are protecting all NATO allies, including Canada. They are protecting our freedom and our security.”
As a so-called Framework Nation, Canada has so far provided about 500 troops from the NATO union in the EU country of Latvia, which borders Russia and its ally Belarus. Due to severe tensions in the Ukraine conflict, the government in Ottawa recently decided to send 460 more troops. An additional warship and a coastal patrol aircraft are also to be transferred.
“We are here to support our Baltic allies and friends in this difficult time and to send a very clear message to President Putin,” Sanchez said. Spain is the second biggest contributor to the battlegroup and is also increasing its contingent. Sánchez said “very quickly and very quickly” about 150 troops are to be transferred to Latvia.
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