Canada to send more military officers to Latvia

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Canada announced further enhancements of its military presence in Latvia May 12.

The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, during his visit to Canada from May 10 to 12.

"The prime ministers discussed ways to further coordinate additional military support to Ukraine as the country continues to fight Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression. The leaders stressed the importance of coordination among members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and discussed ways to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence measures in Eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic region. The prime ministers also expressed their shared support for Finland joining the NATO Alliance," said a Canadian government readout of the meeting.

Kariņš and Trudeau in Canada, May 2022
Kariņš and Trudeau in Canada, May 2022

Following their meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada will deploy a Canadian Armed Forces general officer and six staff officers to NATO’s Multinational Division North Headquarters, based in Ādaži, Latvia.

Commenting on the decision, Kariņš said:

"Canada has played an extremely important role in leading the NATO Expanded Battlegroup in Latvia. Today's decision to send a command team to NATO's Multinational Division North Headquarters is extremely important in the context of the forthcoming discussion at the NATO Summit in Madrid on increasing NATO's presence in the Baltic States to division level.”

During his visit to Canada, Prime Minister Kariņš also met with the Honourable Anthony Rota, Speaker of the House of Commons, and with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland.

"At this crucial time for Euro-Atlantic security, Canada’s commitment to the NATO Alliance continues to be unwavering. To this end, we recently deployed a second frigate to NATO’s maritime forces and have added even more troops and capabilities to the Canadian-led multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia. This contribution of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to Multinational Division North Headquarters is yet another example of Canada’s commitment towards the security of our NATO Allies, and to defending every inch of NATO territory,” said Canadian Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand.

Prime Minister Trudeau has visited Latvia twice. His last visit was as recently as March 2022. Canada currently has approximately 700 Canadian Armed Forces personnel leading NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia as part of Operation REASSURANCE.

Created in March 2019, NATO’s Multinational Division North Headquarters performs several vital roles – including support for the defence planning of Baltic nations, and the coordination of regional military activities – such as the activities of enhanced Forward Presence forces.

Headquartered in Ādaži, Latvia, with additional elements in Denmark, Multinational Division North is currently led by Denmark, and falls under the command of NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast.

Flags of Canada and Latvia
Flags of Canada and Latvia

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