Canada to continue expanding military presence in Latvia

Canada will continue to strengthen and expand its military presence in Latvia and double the number of soldiers stationed in Latvia, Latvian Radio reported. This was announced on Friday by Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair, who met Latvian Defence Minister Andris Sprūds in Rīga.

Both ministers emphasized that it is important to continue the support of Western countries to Ukraine in the war against the aggressor state Russia because Ukrainians also fight for our values and our freedom. But it is important to provide not only direct support to Ukraine but also to invest in strengthening NATO's common defense, especially in the alliance's eastern flank.

Since 2017, one of NATO's enhanced forward presence forces has been deployed in Latvia, of which Canada is the framework country responsible for this group.

This battle group, which is stationed at the military base in Ādaži, currently includes about 1,700 troops from Latvia, Canada, and 10 more countries. Canada is represented with the most soldiers – about a thousand.

Canada has pledged to increase its military contingent in Latvia to 2,200 troops by 2026. Minister Blair announced several more measures in Rīga on Friday, which Canada will take in the coming years to strengthen its military presence in Latvia.

Starting in the summer of next year Canada will send four Griffon helicopters to Latvia and later Chinooks transport helicopters, according to Blair. 

“Today, I can also announce that Canada has entered into a $32 million contract to purchase portable anti-tank missile systems for our forces in Latvia. These modern anti-tank weapons will enable our soldiers to better confront the threat posed by enemy tanks, thereby strengthening NATO's deterrence capabilities and protecting our people. The first systems will arrive in Latvia by mid-2024,” said Blair.

Blair said Canada will invest another 15 million Canadian dollars, or 10.2 million euros, to build the infrastructure that will be needed to increase the extended presence of the battlegroup from battalion to brigade level.

Blair, along with Sprūds, visited the Ādaži base for the solemn leadership change ceremony of NATO's enhanced forward presence force.  Blair is also scheduled to meet with President Edgars Rinkēvičs and visit NATO's Centre for Strategic Communication and Excellence, as well as the information Technology Security Incident Response Institution “”

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important