Spain to send 300 soldiers to Latvia

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Spain will send 300 troops to join the Canadian-led NATO battalion coming soon to Latvia, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis said in an interview with Latvian public radio January 11.

He said that the preparatory work for the arrival of the Canadian-led battle group has been successful and in late January a meeting of all stakeholders with be held in Ottawa to discuss different practical matters.

"Spain has joined the battle group with a large unit - 300 troops, so the battalion will have more than 1,000 troops then - 1,100-1,200 soldiers," said Bergmanis.

The figure of 300 is more than double the estimate of 100-130 troops mentioned by Spain's Defense Ministry in October.

While Spain may be known for its warm, sunny weather, its military is also adept at operating in colder climates, as this video from the Spanish Ministry of Defense shows.

Latvia's military bases, especially the military base in Adazi, are getting ready for the battalion, developing infrastructure, building barracks and so on, the minister said.

As reported, NATO leaders at the summit in Warsaw in July 2016 approved the deployment of four multinational battalions to the Baltic countries and Poland as part of measures meant to deter Russia from possible aggression. Their deployment will begin soon and proceed on a rotational basis.

Canada is the lead nation for the battalion to be stationed in Latvia. Half of the battalion will be Canadian soldiers, and it will also include soldiers from Albania, Italy, Spain, Poland and Slovenia.

The UK will take the lead role in Estonia and Germany in Lithuania.

As previously reported, Canada is to spend CND 348.6 million (€245 million) on its mission in Europe over the next three years.

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