He held a joint press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš at 13:00 after their bilateral meeting, at which he confirmed Canada will increase the number of troops it has stationed in Latvia.
The Latvian and Canadian Defense Ministers signed a commitment on Monday at the Adaži base to increase the strength of Canada's contingent in the NATO enhanced forward presence battle group deployed in Latvia to a brigade.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after signing the roadmap that Canada has very close ties with Latvia and when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, NATO mobilized its forces and deployed troops, including in Latvia.
With the plans to create a brigade, Canada will double the presence of Canadian troops in Latvia to defend democracy and the rule of law.
This is part of a program worth CAD 2.6 billion, or around EUR 1.78 billion, and the additional troops will be deployed in several countries, including Latvia. The amount also includes weapons and equipment to fight cyber-attacks.
Trudeau said that other allies would also increase their presence in Latvia. "Canada will continue to be present and support multilateralism throughout the alliance," Trudeau stressed.
"We will not allow Russia to disrupt peace in Europe. Russia must clearly understand that it has violated almost all red lines, including the rule of law, by invading Ukraine," the Canadian Prime Minister stressed.
Decision of Canada to double its military presence in @eFPBGLatvia is a powerful step in strengthening Eastern flank of #NATO and strong signal of Allied unity and determination. Thank you @JustinTrudeau and #Canada 🇨🇦 for the leadership in strengthening our Alliance. #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/4ZnSze2cK0
— Krišjānis Kariņš (@krisjaniskarins)
He said that Canada cares about Europe's freedom and security. This is Canada's largest mission abroad and Canada has a very important role to play in guarding the eastern border. Canada believes that there is strength in diversity, Trudeau said, reminding that there are 12 countries that are a part of this battle group.
Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš thanked Canada for sticking to its commitment. "A year ago, at the NATO Summit in Madrid, it was decided that NATO battalions would be increased to brigade level. Now an agreement has been signed on how this will be done," the Prime Minister stressed.
Kariņš also reminded that Latvia continues to invest in its defense, both by building a large training ground in the Selija region and by purchasing new armaments.
Day before #NATO #VilniusSummit 🇱🇻 and 🇨🇦signed the roadmap on scaling @eFPBGLatvia to brigade level.— Ināra Mūrniece (@IMurniece) July 10, 2023
🇨🇦Canada will double the number of soldiers deployed in 🇱🇻, confirming its commitment to strengthen the security of all NATO eastern flank. 🇱🇻🇨🇦#StrongerTogether #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/nmRZL2bGHH
The 'road map' signed by the Defese Ministers states that the amount of permanently stationed NATO forces and equipment in Latvia will be gradually increased. Latvia, on the other hand, affirms its commitment to invest resources in the further development of national defense capabilities and to provide the support of the host country to its allies. It is planned that the brigade will reach its full combat readiness by 2026.
"Establishing and deploying a brigade in Latvia is not an easy task, as it requires significant resources from all parties involved. Latvia is grateful to Canada for its leading role in this process. I am sure that in close cooperation with our NATO allies we will succeed in achieving the set goal and strengthening the security of Latvia and the entire alliance," says Latvian Defense Minister Ināra Mūrniece.
Canada has already announced a significant strengthening of its presence, including a commitment to deploy 15 "Leopard 2" tanks with supporting personnel in Latvia this year, as previously reported by LSM.