Politics

Trudeau tours NATO base, announces renewal of Canadian mission in Latvia

The prime ministers of three NATO countries got a chance Tuesday to see how ready their troops are to defend eastern Europe.

'Canada is standing united with our European allies,' PM says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks with a Canadian soldier during his visit to Adazi Military base in Kadaga, Latvia on Tuesday, March. 8, 2022. (Roman Koksarov/AP)

The prime ministers of three NATO countries got a chance Tuesday to see how ready their troops are to defend eastern Europe.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš for a tour of the western military alliance's base and training range at Adazi, outside Latvia's capital Riga.

They visited with troops and met with NATO Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how allies can prevent the war from spreading.

"Now is the time to provide support to Ukraine, impose heavy sanctions and increase NATO's military presence in the eastern part of the alliance to make sure there's no attack against any NATO [members]," Stoltenberg told CBC News in an interview.

Trudeau also announced today the early renewal of Canada's military contribution to NATO's deterrence mission, known as Operation Reassurance.

WATCH: Canada renews Operation Reassurance

Canada renews NATO mission Operation Reassurance

5 months ago
Duration 1:11
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the renewal of Operation Reassurance one year before it was scheduled to end during his visit to Latvia.

"As Russia continues its unwarranted and unjustifiable attacks on Ukraine, Canada is standing united with our European allies in supporting Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, as well as democracy and human rights everywhere," Trudeau said Tuesday.

The mandate for the deployment of hundreds of Canadian soldiers in Latvia had been slated to expire in 2023. The federal cabinet has extended it indefinitely in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Canada leads the NATO battle group in Latvia and plans on reinforcing it with an artillery battery, bringing the total contingent to roughly 660 soldiers.

The country also contributes two frigates to NATO standing naval task forces, a maritime surveillance plane and six CF-18s for air policing on a rotational basis.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the Liberal government signaled in Defence Minister Anita Anand's mandate letter that it intended to renew the NATO mission's mandate. Stoltenberg welcomed that move Tuesday when he and the three prime ministers spoke to the media after their meetings.

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