Sajjan in Riga: NATO sending «collective message of solidarity» to Russia

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Canada's defense minister, Harjan Sajjan, on Friday outlined the reasons for his country's decision to lead NATO's so-called 'Enhanced Forward Presence' in Latvia.

Speaking at the Riga Conference, Sajjan said: "The confidence that NATO gives to its member nations is absolutely important. That solid, collective message that we send when a decision is made, that we can turn it into military action very quickly, is extremely important and the enhanced forward presence of the four main battle groups right now is an example of that."

"Our leaders came together at the Warsaw Summit, made a collective decision and are now turning it into action... that collective message is extremely powerful, especially when you have multiple nations coming together with four battle groups. It demonstrates far more than our troops coming together to train."

"That collective message that it sends, especially to Russia, is that many nations can come together, have inter-operability, and that we can make a decision and turn it into action very quickly is a message of solidarity."

"That's the true power of NATO, when you bring it all together."

Even while he was speaking, NATO released a video clip online of Sajjan making similar comments.

Also speaking on the same panel was Estonian Defense Minister Hannes Hanso, who warned that there was little prospect of Russia modifying its aggressive stance in the foreseeable future.

"The current regime derives its legitimacy from confrontation," Hanso said, "We need to realize we're in it for the long run." 

That might also involve reviewing whether new permanent bases would be needed in the region, Hanso added.

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