US General: Latvia is ready to defend itself

A senior United States commander, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, has paid tribute to recent improvements in Latvia's defense capability following a recent tour of military facilities. 

Speaking during his visit, which took place September 23-25, Hodges, who is commanding general of US forces in Europe said: "What I have seen is a continuous increase in commitment and improvement of the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the Latvian military to fulfill its own obligation - Article 3 - to be ready to defend itself."

"You've always had great men and women but now I feel the institutional part, the ministry part, is really investing in facilities like Adazi camp here... so that's really struck me this time more than before, how much work has been done," Hodges said.

He also emphasized that joint training exercises between US and Latvian troops see expertise and skills flowing in both directions, with local knowledge playing an important role. 

The arrival of Canadian troops next year to reinforce the local presence would give Latvia "great capability" he added.

You can watch the full interview with Hodges, produced by Latvia's Armed Forces, below.

Hodges' comments contrasted with others attributed to him earlier this year when he was quoted as suggesting Russia could occupy the Baltic states in short order. However, those comments were made before the NATO Warsaw Summit in which the alliance committed to sending multinational reinforcements to the region. 

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