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Canadian Armed Forces to Train Ukrainian Junior Officers in Latvia

Defence Minister Anita Anand welcomed the Minister of Defence of Latvia, Ms. Ināra Mūrniece, to Ottawa. During the visit, Minister Anand reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to Latvia’s security. Approximately 800 Canadian Armed Forces members are currently deployed to Latvia, where Canada has served as Framework Nation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia since 2017.

Ministers Anand and Mūrniece announced that Canada and Latvia will jointly train Ukrainian combat leaders on Latvian soil, beginning as early as May 15 of this year. Jointly developed by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Latvian National Armed Forces, this program will see CAF and Latvian National Armed Forces members delivering much-needed Junior Officer leadership development training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) through Operation UNIFIER.

This training comes in addition to the Canadian Armed Forces’ other ongoing deployments through Operation UNIFIER in support of Ukraine:

• Approximately eighty Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed to Poland under Operation UNIFIER.

• Approximately 170 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed to the United Kingdom under Operation UNIFIER, where they are training members of the AFU on individual skills required for frontline combat, including weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.

Minister Anand and Minister Mūrniece also reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Canada-Latvia Joint Declaration signed in June 2022 at the Madrid Summit. In this joint declaration, Canada agreed to:

• Continue to lead NATO forces as the Framework Nation in Latvia;

• Work with Latvia and NATO Allies to generate and stage forces in order to surge to a combat capable brigade;

• Establish and lead elements of a forward brigade command and control;

• Be prepared to provide critical capabilities to operations, such as ammunition and explosives, air defence systems, and anti-tank weapons systems.

Planning continues between Canada, Latvia, and other eFP Battle Group contributing nations in order to surge the battle group to a combat capable brigade.

Canada and Latvia share a long history of military cooperation and partnership. Ministers Anand and Mūrniece discussed issues of mutual interest in the lead-up to this summer’s NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, and reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture and the security of the Euro-Atlantic area.

On May 9, 2023, the two ministers visited 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa where they met with Canadian soldiers and participated in a tour of military vehicles and specialized equipment.

“Latvia and Canada are close NATO Allies, united through our strong defence relationship and mutual commitment to supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war. The expansion of our training for Ukrainian military officers will contribute to Ukraine’s battlefield success, and provide yet another opportunity for Canadian and Latvian troops to work together. I thank Minister Mūrniece for her strong cooperation, and I thank the people of Latvia for their ongoing hospitality to members of the Canadian Armed Forces.” The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

• Canada is committed to strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in Eastern Europe. Approximately 1,100 CAF members are currently deployed as part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s current largest international military operation.

• As the Framework Nation for NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, Canada leads an eleven-nation multinational battle group and coordinates with Latvia and the contributing nations to help set the tone, pace, and vision for this Battle Group.

• The Canadian component of the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group comprises a mechanized infantry company, an artillery battery, a combat support company, and a combat service support company.

• The CAF is currently supporting four training ongoing missions under Operation UNIFIER, providing both basic and advanced military skills to the Security Forces of Ukraine, enabling them to apply those teachings on the front lines. These training missions include basic recruit training in the United Kingdom, as well as more specialized combat engineer, combat medical, and tank crew training occurring in Poland, and will soon begin Leadership training in partnership with Latvia.

• Since the beginning of 2022, Canada has committed over $8 billion in direct financial, military, humanitarian, and other assistance to Ukraine.

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