Remarks on the meeting with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš
Good afternoon, everyone.
It is a real pleasure to be here with Prime Minister Kariņš in Canada. You welcomed me, Krišjānis, to Latvia just a few months ago back in March, and I’m honoured to be able to welcome you here to Canada on such a beautiful, sunny day.
It was a really good, productive meeting we had just now. We reaffirmed the strong and deep ties between our countries. We’re both steadfast supporters of Ukraine, and we discussed further military support that we can work on together, but also offer.
Canada and Latvia share values that are rooted in freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Latvia and the Baltic States feel the shadow of their neighbour, Russia, but they all continue to be a bulwark in defence of their democracy and democracy in Eastern Europe.
Today, Prime Minister Kariņš and I also discussed how we can continue strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense measures along Europe’s eastern flank. As you know, Canada leads the NATO battlegroup based in Latvia, which I had the chance to visit back in March at Camp Adazi. Currently, 695 Canadian Armed Forces women and men are deployed in Latvia.
Today, I am very pleased to announce that we will be deploying a general and six staff officers to NATO’s Multinational Division North Headquarters in Adazi. They’ll be part of a first of its kind unit in the Northern Baltic Sea region to help plan, coordinate, and integrate regional military activities. It’ll serve as a continued and important part of our enhancements to NATO’s defence and deterrence capabilities.
This is something Latvia had actually asked Canada to provide to continue assisting in the region. We talked about it a fair bit just a few months ago, so together, through our collective strength, we will continue to defend against threats to democracy and global stability.
Over the weekend, I was in Ukraine where I got to see firsthand what attacks against democracy and global stability look like. I saw the devastation of Irpin with homes destroyed, with neighbourhoods battered.
It is clear that war crimes have been committed and that the blame rests squarely on Putin. During my visit, I witnessed the resilience and courage of Ukrainians. They fight with a ferocity that has inspired the whole world. They may be fewer in number, but they are defending their homeland with extraordinary success. The Russians have clearly underestimated them.
Despite the dark and brutal realities of war, Ukrainians continue to seek a bright, free, democratic future. We will together, collectively, be there to support Ukrainians as they defend themselves against Putin’s illegal invasion, and we will be there as the country rebuilds afterwards.
Krišjānis, thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for everything you and your partners do to defend NA... to defend Europe, to defend democracy.
Together, our countries will continue to defend our shared values.
It’s very good to see you here today, my friend.