In 2014, when Putin invaded Ukraine for the first time, NATO countries came together to put into place assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. Canada’s contribution to NATO’s response was to form Operation REASSURANCE – a military presence in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression and, if necessary, defend NATO territory. Now, as Russia’s ongoing, full-scale war in Ukraine is threatening democracy and our rules-based international system, with impacts like food insecurity and energy insecurity stretching beyond the region, Canada will continue to stand with our Allies and the people of Ukraine – for as long as it takes.
Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Leaders’ Summit this week, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada is committing $2.6 billion in funding starting in 2023-24, to renew and expand Operation REASSURANCE for three years. This operation is Canada’s contribution to the biggest reinforcement of the Alliance’s collective defence in a generation, and Canada’s largest overseas mission, with up to 2200 troops to be persistently deployed, more than double the current deployment.
This new funding supports Canada’s ongoing commitment to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) on the Eastern Flank. Since 2017, Canada has served as Framework Nation for NATO’s eFP in Latvia, leading a multinational battle group. Canada has about 800 Canadian troops currently stationed in Latvia, working with the Latvian Land Forces and our Allies to reinforce NATO’s collective defence. As part of the renewal and expansion, Canada will increase the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and capabilities in Latvia. Canada is also ready to deploy additional surge personnel for allied crisis response, cooperative security, and collective defence. As eFP Framework Nation, Canada will continue to lead efforts to scale the combat-capable battle group to brigade size.
Canada will also procure and pre-position critical weapon systems, enablers, supplies and support intelligence, cyber, and space activities to fulfill pledges made under the Canada-Latvia Joint Declaration of June 2022. Canada will continue to work with Latvia and NATO Allies to ensure that eFP infrastructure is in place, and medical and dental services are provided to those supporting Operation REASSURANCE.
While in Latvia, Prime Minister Trudeau met with Canadian and multinational troops deployed there as part of the eFP mission. The Prime Minister also visited Canadian trainers at Camp Ādaži, who are providing training assistance to Ukrainian officers as part of Canada’s Operation UNIFIER. He witnessed first-hand our troops’ work to provide military support to Ukraine.
The Prime Minister met with the newly-inaugurated President of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš to continue strengthening ties and advancing freedom, democracy, the rule of law, while making life better for people.
While in Latvia, the Prime Minister highlighted Canada’s increasing diplomatic and military presence and capacity in Eastern Europe to further support democracy, help counter disinformation, leverage our military commitment and sustain a united response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, as well as threats to other countries in the region. Canada will continue to work closely with our partners in the region toward a more peaceful world.
“Today, we are once again standing shoulder to shoulder with our Allies against Russian aggression. Wherever they are in the world, the Canadian Armed Forces will always work to reinforce global stability, security, and the rules-based international order, toward a better and more peaceful world for all. Canada is proud to support Latvia and NATO Allies as we strengthen Operation REASSURANCE and continue to lead the eFP in Latvia.”
- This was Prime Minister Trudeau’s third visit to Latvia. He last visited Latvia in March 2022.
- Prime Minister Trudeau is the first foreign leader to visit Latvia since President Rinkēvičs inauguration on July 8, 2023.
- The Prime Minister was joined in Latvia by the Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand.
- Latvia was the first European Union Member State to ratify the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, on March 9, 2017.
- Canada was the first G7 country to recognize the restoration of Latvia’s independence in 1991, and one of the first countries to ratify Latvia’s accession to NATO in 2004.
- Canada has led the multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia as the Framework Nation since 2017, as part of Operation REASSURANCE.
- Operation REASSURANCE refers to military activities conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces and partner agencies in the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Canada contributes Canadian Armed Forces personnel to the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence located in Riga, as well as to the NATO Force Integration Units in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- NATO has eight multinational battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance: Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, with a total troop number of over 10,000. Eleven nations contribute to NATO's enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia: Albania, Canada, Czechia, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
- Building on the 2022 Joint Declaration, Prime Minister Trudeau oversaw the signing of the joint Canada-Latvia Roadmap by Minister of National Defence Anita Anand and Latvian Minister of Defence, Ināra Mūrniece. This Roadmap outlines our joint plan to implement the commitments made at the Madrid Summit and through the Joint, and its implementation will further strengthen NATO’s presence in Latvia and our ability, alongside troop-contributing Allies, to deter and respond to threats posed by Russia more rapidly and effectively. Canada’s efforts in Latvia are complemented by the important and steadfast contributions of participating Allies (Spain, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Poland, Czechia, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, and North Macedonia), as well as Latvia’s exemplary role as Host Nation.
- Prime Minister to travel to Latvia for bilateral visit and Lithuania for NATO Summit
- Canada-Latvia relations
- Operation REASSURANCE
- Operation UNIFIER
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Kariņš