A battle group of Canadian soldiers will soon deploy to Latvia, taking with them significant equipment to provide a credible deterrence against further Russian expansionism in eastern Europe, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will tell NATO leaders on Friday, CBC reports.
In addition, the Liberal government has renewed a commitment to provide six CF-18 fighter jets for air policing duties over the Baltic states, a mission the air force last conducted in 2014.
It will also continue the deployment of a navy frigate as part of NATO’s standing task force, something that was first ordered by the former Conservative government.
The Trudeau government last week signalled its willingness to join the military alliance’s high-readiness land brigade that’s being assembled to defend the tiny Baltic states and Poland, but it was left to the prime minister to brief other western leaders on Friday about what precisely Canada was prepared to bring to the table.
“Canada is playing a strong, constructive role in the world,” Trudeau said in a written statement.
The contribution is being described in military circles as a “framework battalion,” meaning Canada will provide the backbone of one of four combat formations. Three other nations — the U.S., Britain and Germany — will create their own battalions.
Trudeau’s statement did not provide any troop numbers, but each multi-national battle group is expected to be roughly 1,000 soldiers in size.
Being a “framework nation” does not mean Canada will deliver all of the troops in its formation. It could, for example, mirror the British commitment, which was pegged on Friday at roughly 650 soldiers.
In addition to infantry companies, Canada will be expected to provide headquarters oversight, leadership and other essential support units that allow the battalion to function and fight. Other NATO countries will contribute smaller contingents to each battalion.
It will be a long-term deployment. Every six to nine months, a fresh batch of Canadian troops will be rotated through the battalion until NATO decides to dissolve the brigade.
The battalions, which make up the brigade, will be sprinkled on Russia’s doorstep, providing both reassurance and insurance to some of the newest members of the military alliance — all of them former Cold War adversaries who are alarmed at Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
As it was reported earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will take part in a NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting and hold a series of meetings with foreign partners during NATO Summit in Warsaw.