As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

From an increased bunker overlooking a mock-battlefield, Canadian Lt.-Col. John Benson has an excellent view of the NATO armoured cars spinning their machine gun turrets and manoeuvring through the mud and snow.

He likes what he sees.

“we’ve got completely indisputably that we are capable of accomplish the tasks which can be given to us,” Benson advised CBC News all over an exercise dubbed “Winter Defend” at Camp Ādaži, about an hour outside the Latvian capital, Riga.

Benson is the combat team commander in charge of the 500 Canadians stationed right here, Canada’s biggest overseas army presence.

the bottom, which hosts squaddies from THIRTEEN NATO international locations, is more or less 300 kilometres from the border with Russia and is considered a key a part of the alliance’s Japanese Europe defence.

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

Lieut.-Col. John Benson is the commander of the Canadian combat staff near Riga. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

The Canadians stationed listed below are tracking the construct-up of as many as 100,000 fight-ready Russian troops to the south, going through Ukraine. Belarus, which shares a border with Latvia, has also just started new army workouts alongside the frontier with Ukraine.

Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg and different NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Riga this week to talk about the way to respond to the Russian build-up and any possible attack.


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Each Stoltenberg and Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly had been at the base Monday prematurely of the NATO conferences.

If Russia makes an army move in opposition to Ukraine, “there will be results and there’ll be costs,” Stoltenberg informed CBC News, emphasizing that “Ukraine is a detailed NATO spouse.”   

WATCH | Canada, NATO pledge strengthen for Ukraine:

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

Canada, NATO pledge enhance for Ukraine amid Russia tensions

14 hours ago


NATO leaders meeting to speak about the escalating tensions at the Russia-Ukraine border have pledged give a boost to for Ukraine if there’s an assault, but wouldn’t promise military aid. 1:58

The crucial difference is that Ukraine is not a NATO “member,” and at the same time as its defence is noticed as key to European safety, the alliance is under no legal obligation to respond to a Russian assault.

This has created a bit of of a guessing sport amongst many, including Canadian squaddies right here, about precisely what outcomes Russia could face if hostilities broke out, and what function NATO troops in the area might be referred to as upon to play.

No want ‘for the rest to prompt’

Russian troops took over and illegally annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. In A While afterwards, Russia began providing toughen to separatists in Jap Ukraine, helping gas a struggle that has lasted seven years and claimed more than THIRTEEN,000 lives.

This earlier spring, Russian forces staged another troop mobilization, however subsidized off after President Vladimir Putin secured a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. But U.S. officers have warned Russia’s build-up in contemporary weeks seems extra organized and fight-ready.


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Canadian infantrymen in Latvia advised CBC News they are following trends intently and considering how occasions may just affect their deployment. 

“a few of the ranks, we do shoot the breeze a bit in the shacks and talk about possibilities,” stated Lieut. Alexander Increase, a shipping officer with the Canadian combat group. “but it wouldn’t be a choice that comes all the way down to us.”

Boom additionally emphasised, “we might by no means, ever want for anything to activate.”

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

Latvian armoured automobiles take quilt as a part of Wintry Weather Defend. the soldiers in yellow vests are acting as observers. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Maj. Jocelyn Roy, a mechanized Infantry company commander, said no matter what happens, he is assured Canada’s army may just do no matter what is asked of it.

“We do practice the politics,” he mentioned. “However at my stage, on the company level, I focus on my task, that’s ensuring my company is always able to fight and able to operate with our spouse countries.” 

“We display the location in any respect instances,” Benson said. “We currently have not needed to change our state of affairs, our alert state. However once more, the best deterrence is always demonstrating our interoperability and demonstrating repeatedly that we will be able to exit and educate.”

‘We Are a powerful best friend’

Canada’s different top Eu military presence is farther south, in Ukraine, as a part of a 2 HUNDRED-member Operation Unifier.

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

A soldier holds a Canadian flag at a welcoming ceremony for dignitaries at the Canadian base in Latvia on Monday. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Stationed near Lviv, in western Ukraine, more than 1,000 kilometres from the ongoing warfare with Russian-subsidized separatists in Donbas, the Canadian venture has helped educate greater than 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers over the remaining seven years.

since the latest Russian build-up, Great Britain has indicated it is going to beef up its troop presence in Eastern Europe, and the U.S. has indicated more army aid for Ukraine is also under consideration.

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media in front of a Canadian LAV-6 armoured vehicle. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Overseas Minister Joly touted the Latvian workouts as “successful,” however refused to speculate approximately an increase in Canada’s presence in Ukraine.

“Now We Have all the time been there to make stronger Ukrainians,” mentioned Joly. “We’re a powerful ally and that’s why we are tracking the placement very closely.” 

As Russia masses its troops, Canadian soldiers in Eastern Europe keep watch

Foreign Minister Melanie Joly meets Canadian squaddies on the NATO base. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused NATO on Tuesday of building up its army infrastructure in Ukraine, and stated Russia is anxious about “military drills” close to its borders.

it is not transparent if he intended the Canadian-led workout in Latvia, however the Canadian commander, John Benson, suggested Canada’s posture remains strictly shielding.

“the improved forward presence in Latvia has been right here for nearly five years now. it is a consistent, solid contribution. There Is been no significant changes to what we do right here in Latvia.”

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