Canada to send 1,000 troops to Latvia to deter Russia

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Canada will deploy 1,000 soldiers in Latvia to one of four battalions NATO is assembling in Eastern Europe in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea, reported AFP Thursday via Canadian media.

Along with the United States, Britain and Germany, Canada "will establish and lead" a high-readiness brigade that will "contribute to NATO's enhanced forward presence in Eastern and Central Europe," the Canadian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that more details would be provided at a NATO summit in Poland next month.

"As a responsible partner in the world, Canada stands side by side with its NATO allies working to deter aggression and assure peace and stability in Europe," Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement.

The announcement comes a day after US President Barack Obama challenged Canada to do more to support NATO during a speech in the Canadian parliament.

The alliance is embarking on a military buildup on its members' eastern flank unprecedented since the end of the Cold War.

The Canadian troops will join a total of 4,000 soldiers NATO is deploying to the Baltic States and Poland to help deter the Kremlin's threat after its actions in Crimea and its stoking of military conflict in eastern Ukraine, Canadian media reported.

The deployment, to be completed by next year, is expected to be confirmed during next month's summit in Warsaw.

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