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Canadian Armed Forces to train Ukrainian junior officers in Latvia. Canada and Latvia underscore strength of defence relationship

May 17, 2023 | World, Featured, Politics, News, Ukraine, Canada

Defence Minister Anita Anand looks on as Latvian Defence Minister Inara Murniece speaks at a joint news conference at the Canadian War Museum on May 10, 2023 in Ottawa. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

NP-UN National Affairs Desk

May 10, Defence Minister Anita Anand and Latvian Minister of Defence Ināra 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 80 Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed to Poland under Operation UNIFIER. This mission includes:

• Approximately 45 CAF combat engineers training sappers on a range of basic and advanced engineering skills, engineering reconnaissance, the use of explosives for demolition work, and demining;

• Approximately 25 CAF members training AFU tank crews on the use of Leopard 2 main battle tanks;

• Approximately 10 CAF members and training members of the AFU with the skills needed to save lives in combat situations; and

• 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.

The announcement was made during Mūrniece’s visit to Ottawa during which 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 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; and

• 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, 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,” said Anand.

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