Canadian-led NATO Battlegroup begins work in Latvia
June 19, 2017 – Camp Ādaži, Latvia – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Canada is a leading member of NATO that has always deployed our troops and equipment when and where they are needed most. The Government of Canada is committed to taking concrete action so that Canadians – and people around the world – can feel safe and secure in their communities.
Over 1,000 soldiers from seven NATO nations participated in a ceremony today at Camp Ādaži, Latvia, to mark the standup of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup in Latvia.
The battlegroup will operate in concert with the Latvian Land Forces Infantry Brigade. The eFP battlegroup is commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wade Rutland and is comprised of soldiers from Albania, Canada, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and Raimonds Vejonis the President of the Republic of Latvia, attended the ceremony Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, and General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff represented Canada at the ceremony.
With this event all NATO eFP battlegroups are now in place in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, as agreed upon by NATO Heads of State and Government at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016.
“Today’s ceremony marks the implementation of one of Canada's key NATO commitments. Leading NATO efforts to deter and defeat potential aggression is a core mission in Canada’s new Defence Policy: Strong, Secure, Engaged. As the leader of an enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup, Canada is committed to ensuring a peaceful and stable Europe. We stand united with our NATO Allies and the people of Latvia.”
— Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister
“I am confident the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces in Latvia will demonstrate the type of operational excellence for which we are well-known. Our expertise, training and professionalism put us in a strong position to lead the multinational battlegroup in support of NATO’s reassurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe.”
— General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff
“Today is an important day for NATO, Latvia and this battlegroup. We are sending a clear message that Canada stands firmly with our Allies, and that we will do what it takes to preserve peace in the Baltics. I am tremendously impressed by the capability and professionalism of the soldiers from all the nations on parade today, and look forward to working with our Latvian counterparts.”
— Lieutenant-Colonel Wade Rutland, Commander, eFP battlegroup Latvia
The establishment of the eFP battlegroup in Central and Eastern Europe is fully aligned with our new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, which underscores the Canadian Government’s commitment to lead NATO efforts to deter and defeat potential adversaries to support global stability.
In light of continued international instability, NATO Allies decided at the July 2016 Warsaw Summit to further strengthen the Alliance posture in order to deter possible aggression against NATO members. The most visible element of this strengthened deterrence and defence posture is the establishment of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Central and Eastern Europe.
These multinational battlegroups demonstrate the enduring strength of the transatlantic bond and the commitment and cohesion of the Alliance. They are part of the Alliance’s response to the Russian government’s decision to use military force against its neighbours, and its military buildup in the region. The eFP battlegroups are defensive in nature, proportionate to the changed security environment, and are fully in line with NATO’s international commitments. They aim to prevent conflict and preserve regional stability.
NATO eFP battlegroups have also been established in Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland, and are led respectively by the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.
This deployment is part of Operation REASSURANCE, the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. The assets deployed under Operation REASSURANCE represent Canada’s largest sustained presence in Europe in more than a decade.
Since 2014, Canada has actively participated alongside our NATO Allies in measures to maintain security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe — through partnering, training, exercises, and other operational tasks.
The Canadian Armed Forces is contributing up to 450 troops to the battlegroup, including headquarters staff, an infantry company with Light Armoured Vehicles, military police, and logistical and communications support.
The majority of the Canadian soldiers currently deployed in Latvia are from 3rd Canadian Division, based in Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada enjoys excellent relations with Latvia. Canada was the first G7 country to recognize the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991, and one of the first countries to ratify Latvia's accession to NATO in 2004.
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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