Canada pledges €245 million for Baltic defense

Canada is to spend CND 348.6 million (EUR 245 million) on its reassurance mission in Europe, including Latvia, over the next three years, reported the LETA news agency December 31.

LETA was informed of the figure by the Canadian Embassy in Riga.

''Through Operation Reassurance, the Canadian Armed Forces have strengthened NATO’s defense by contributing soldiers on the ground in Central and Eastern Europe, deploying a persistent maritime presence in European waters, and by providing air contributions to Romania and the Baltic States. As well, the CAF have participated in an ambitious and transparent exercise cycle with allies,'' the embassy said.

The embassy emphasized that with continued international instability, there is consensus within NATO that the alliance must further strengthen its posture in order to deter potential adversaries from using force against the alliance.

''As a result, at the July 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada is renewing the mandate of Operation Reassurance as part of its contribution to NATO’s deterrence and defense posture. 348.6 million Canadian dollars are planned to fund the renewal of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Operation Reassurance over the next three years,'' the embassy goes on to say, adding that the Canadian Armed Forces are deploying to Latvia, at its invitation, in order to train, share and learn.

As previously reported, after Spain's decision to join the Canadian-led NATO battalion in Latvia, the battle-group has been finalized, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics confirmed to LETA on the sidelines of December's meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

''Now after Spain's decision, the battle-group has been finalized - the Canadian-led battalion will be made up of soldiers from Canada, Albania, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Poland,'' said Rinkevics.

''At the moment, both the Latvian and Canadian side are working intensively with all the countries to deal with practical matters," he added.

Canada has committed to sending up to 455 troops to Latvia including a battlegroup headquarters element, a mechanized infantry company, combat service support, vehicles and equipment. It will be its largest sustained military presence in Europe in over a decade. 

Read more about the Canadian deployment HERE.

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