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Canadian Army Tank Squadron Deployment to Latvia

Library image of a Canadian Army Leopard 2A4M CAN in Afghanistan [© Carl Schulze]

Defence Minister Anita Anand meets with NATO Allies and announces deployment of a Canadian Army Tank Squadron to Latvia.

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CAF Press Release, Brussels, 16 June 2023: Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence concluded a successful visit to Brussels, Belgium. During her visit, she participated in the thirteenth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Defence Ministers. During the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, Minister Anand and her Allied counterparts discussed the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, and NATO’s ongoing work to promote Euro-Atlantic security.

Minister Anand announced that Canada intends to deploy a Canadian Army Tank Squadron of 15 Leopard 2 tanks to Latvia, along with supporting personnel and equipment. This deployment as part of Operation REASSURANCE is set to take place over the coming months, with the full arrival of the tanks, initial supporting personnel, and equipment expected by Fall 2023. The full complement of approximately 130 personnel should be in place by spring 2024.

This Canadian Army Tank Squadron will join the Canada-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Latvia – a multinational, ten-nation battle group that Canada has led as the Framework Nation since 2017. The deployment of the Canadian Army Tank Squadron will significantly boost the Battle Group’s military capabilities. This announcement demonstrates Canada’s commitment to implementing the Canada-Latvia Joint Declaration of June 2022, through which Canada pledged to work with Latvia and NATO Allies to generate and stage forces in order to surge the eFP Battle Group Latvia to a combat capable brigade.

Library image of Canadian-led eFP battlegroup LAV 8×8 in Latvia being supported by Polish main battle tanks [© Bob Morrison]

During the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting, Allies discussed their ongoing support to Ukraine, with an emphasis on setting the conditions for the country’s long-term military success and a strengthened relationship with NATO, while also ensuring sufficient defence production. Ministers reaffirmed NATO’s solidarity and unity in response to Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war, and providing timely and effective aid to Ukraine, in partnership with industry.

The Minister also met with:

  • Norway’s Minister of Defence, Bjørn Arild Gram. Both ministers signed the Enhancement of Bilateral Defence Co-Operation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Canada and Norway, which aims to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries in several areas, such as strategic surveillance and situational awareness in the Arctic; the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda; climate and security; training and education; space activities; cyber security; and defence science and technology.
  • Latvia’s Minister of Defence, Ināra Mūrniece, in a follow-up to their May meeting in Ottawa, Minister Anand reinforced Canada’s commitment to implementing the Joint Declaration to augment Canada’s leadership of the battle group in Latvia.
  • Representatives from Allied nations contributing to the eFP Battle Group Latvia. Representatives discussed steps to reinforce the Battle Group in line with NATO’s reinforced deterrence and defence posture.
  • Representatives from Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom. The representatives reinforced eFP participating nations’ commitment to the defence of NATO’s Eastern Flank and advanced the alignment of the Framework Nations’ approaches to implementing their commitments.
  • Sweden’s Minister of Defence Affairs, Pål Jonson. Minister Anand reiterated Canada’s support for Sweden’s accession to NATO without delay.
  • Italy’s Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto. The Ministers discussed areas of bilateral collaboration, including the eFP Battle Group Latvia.
  • North Macedonia’s Minister of National Defence, Slavjanka Petrovska. The Ministers discussed contributions to the eFP Battle Group Latvia and the situation in the Western Balkans.
  • Finland’s Defence Minister, Antti Kaikkonen. The Ministers discussed Finland’s recent accession to NATO and how Canada and Finland can continue to work together to bolster Euro-Atlantic security.

During this important moment for Euro-Atlantic security, Canada continues to work closely with NATO Allies and international partners to provide and coordinate comprehensive military assistance for Ukraine, and to help build a more resilient NATO Alliance.

“Canada’s support for Ukraine is unwavering, and our commitment to the NATO Alliance is ironclad. Canada’s additional military aid to Ukraine will help the Armed Forces of Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion. In addition, the deployment of a Canadian Army Tank Squadron to Latvia demonstrates Canada’s continued commitment to Latvia’s security, and the collective defence of NATO. As a founding member of NATO, Canada will continue to step up with concrete contributions to protect our Allies.” The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

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