Canada does not rule out sending more soldiers to Europe

Canada could send more soldiers to Eastern Europe if the situation requires it, according to Minister Mélanie Joly.

Passing through the Citadel of Quebec to meet her counterparts from the Baltic countries, the Minister of Foreign Affairs recalled that 3,400 Canadian soldiers are “in reserve”, many of whom are based near Quebec.

“So if NATO needs a greater Canadian presence, we know that NATO has 3,400 soldiers at its disposal. And why this is relevant for people here in Quebec is that many of these soldiers come from [la base militaire de] Valcartier,” said Pretty.

According to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), 495 soldiers from Valcartier are currently deployed in Latvia and elsewhere in Europe as part of the “REASSURANCE” deterrence mission.

By the fall, most should be home and will be replaced by troops from other regiments to maintain the Canadian presence.

Important deployment

About 1,300 members of the (CAF) are on Latvian soil at present, which makes “REASSURANCE” the largest Canadian military deployment internationally at this time.

Latvian Foreign Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica stressed her people’s “gratitude” to Canada for their support.

“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has radically changed the world situation,” she added.

The diplomats’ discussions focused on coordinating efforts to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ensure “collective security” and prevent energy and food crises arising from the conflict.

“We are also putting maximum pressure on the Putin regime by imposing severe sanctions on it and we are having an undeniable impact,” assured Pretty.

Chinese maneuvers worry

In another case, Minister Joly said she was “extremely concerned” by recent maneuvers by Chinese aircraft which, according to the Canadian army, would have endangered the safety of some of its crews.

“It’s definitely an issue that I’m going to raise because I’m extremely concerned about the issue,” said Joly, speaking of a “significant gesture”, but avoiding to qualify the whole thing as aggression.

The incidents reportedly took place between April 26 and May 26, 2022 as part of surveillance operations to prevent North Korea’s circumvention of international sanctions.

In some cases, the CAF says, patrol planes had to quickly alter their own course to avoid a potential collision.

Such “interactions” in international airspace are “increasingly frequent,” according to a CAF statement released Wednesday.

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