Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Sauvé of the Canadian army has previously served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan but for the next six months will take charge of the 1,400-strong battalion of NATO allies based in Latvia. Canada has been charged with taking the leading role in the Latgvian battalion with Great Britain taking a similar role in Estonia and Germany in Lithuania.
"The battle group here in Latvia is very capable. We've been here for eighteen months, we've learned to work together, we're improved our interoperability and we're ready to do the mission," Sauvé told LTV, "but it's still a new team that has to build cohesion together."
Today at Camp Adazi ??Lt-Col Philippe Sauvé took over from Lt-Col Steve MacBeth command of the NATO #eFP Battle Group Latvia. As another rotation ends, we thank all participating soldiers and are pleased to welcome the new ??contingent to Latvia! ????#WeAreNATO #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/SZrLOvgiiC— Canada in Latvia (@CanadaLatvia) January 9, 2019
"We are aware of fake news, we take it seriously, and when there's misinformation we make sure we correct that information. Everything that we do is transparent," he said.
The multinational battle group in Latvia is based at Camp Ādaži, is led by Canada and consists of approximately 1,400 soldiers from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Canada, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain who perform rotational duties in Latvia by participating in training with Latvia's own National Armed Forces.
Canada contributes approximately 540 soldiers to the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia, plus approximately 240 sailors aboard a frigate, operating with NATO as part of Operation Reassurance. The Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia at Camp Adazi, Latvia officially launched its mission in June 2017.
The alliance decided to beef up its presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and subsequent actions in Donbas.
Allies implemented the 2016 Warsaw Summit decisions to establish NATO’s forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and to develop a tailored forward presence in the Black Sea region.