Poland offers tank company to join Canadian forces in Latvia

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Poland has offered a tank company to join the Canadian battle group to be deployed to Latvia in 2017, the Polish Embassy in Riga told LETA news agency Thursday.

Commenting the news that Poland might station tanks in Latvia, the Polish Embassy said that decisions taken at NATO Warsaw Summit, particularly those concerning enhanced forward presence, were of crucial importance to the security in Latvia, Poland, and the entire region.

During the summit, the allies demonstrated their unity and solidarity, said the embassy. Now the focus must be on implementation of the Warsaw Summit decisions. The battle groups have to be ready for operations at the beginning of 2017.

The decision on the deployment of NATO battalions is a long-term commitment, and NATO is currently working on a rotation plan for the battalions. The embassy explained that Poland would not only host a NATO battalion but also contribute to the battle group in Latvia.

Poland has offered a tank company to be stationed in Latvia as part of the Canada-led battle group, said the Polish Embassy. Poland would like the command capacity of the Multinational Corps Northeast headquarters in Szczecin increased by collective defense operations.

Poland also wishes that, according to the Warsaw Summit decisions, Multinational Division Northeast headquarters be set up in Poland to command the four battle groups. NATO's command and control capacity has to be improved, and headquarters have to be located as close as possible to the regions where the battle groups are stationed, believes Poland.

While Poland is confident about the allies' support should a crisis occur, Poland continues revamping its armed forces, and defense spending constitutes a significant portion of the country's budget. Poland is happy to have Latvia as a partner for implementation of specific regional defense projects, confirmed the Polish Embassy.

As reported, according to unofficial information reported by LETA in late September, Canada is likely to also deploy to Latvia next year light-armored vehicles LAV 6.0, while Poland could deploy tanks to help strengthen the country's security.

The Defense Ministry did not comment this information, even though Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens/Farmers) said earlier in September that the Canadian-led multinational battalion will include heavy weaponry.

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