The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is seeking the inclusion of Canadian troops in a new brigade of NATO soldiers being assembled to deter Russian expansionist actions in the Baltic.
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO moved to expand the alliance’s multinational rapid reaction force in the Baltic to 40,000 troops that can be deployed within a week. There are also plans to come up with an ultra-mobile brigade of 4,000 soldiers that can be deployed to trouble spots within two days.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, made a personal pitch for Canada to join the force being built to deter Russia.
Stoltenberg noted that Canada has already contributed its CF-18 fighter jets now being used to patrol Baltic airspace as well as a frigate that is part of the NATO standing force in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. A company of Canadian troops is also involved in training exercises in Poland.
“We are very grateful for the contributions from Canada, which we (have) already received, but we would welcome even more,” the NATO chief said.
Canada has already been recently asked to contribute troops and lead one of the four battalions that would make up the force. The Trudeau government has yet to sign off on the proposal, according to the CBC which reported that the Canada has been getting a substantial amount of “arm-twisting” to join the NATO brigade in Eastern Europe.
The news service said the Trudeau government is “hesitating over concerns participation could detract from future peacekeeping missions.”
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