Ambassador to Canada: NATO troops prove «We're not alone»

Following a Russian diplomat's claims that sending Canadian-lead NATO troops to Latvia for deterrence would be wasteful, Latvia's ambassador to Canada Karlis Eihenbaums said that Moscow's aggression has made the troop deployment necessary, suggesting that it would make Europeans feel like "we are not alone".

Russian Ambassador to Canada, Alexander Darchiev, on Wednesday told Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail that the upcoming deployment of NATO troops would amount to unwisely divert resources from fighting terrorism. 

"It’s a huge distraction of resources and diversion from the real threat that we have – that of international terrorism," said the Russian Ambassador.

Darchiev's comments followed the recent acts of terror in Berlin and Ankara. 

While on Thursday Latvia's Ambassador Karlis Eihenbaums told the same news source that the troop deployment - which will include jets and tanks - is a "symbolic act" not aimed to threaten Russia but rather responding to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

"Everybody understands that

1,000 or 2,000 foreign troops do not make a difference if it’s a battlefield [situation], but it makes sense in European psychology: in understanding we are not alone," said Eihenbaums.

Eihenbaums told The Globe and Mail that NATO does not want to "invite a fight by looking like we aren’t ready to stand up for what belongs to us."

About 450 troops, as well as armoured vehicles and a headquarters contingent are slated to deploy to Latvia in 2017 as part of a Canadian-lead NATO battalion.

The Canadians will be joined in their sector by Italian, Albanian, Polish and Slovenian forces.

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