May 2, 2014 4:24 pm

Canada sending soldiers for military exercises in Poland

LONDON, Ont. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canadian soldiers will take part in military exercises in Poland, as Russia’s “illegal occupation” of Ukraine threatens the stability of the region.

Harper made the announcement today in London, Ont., about the military exercises, which he said will be part of NATO “reassurance measures.”

READ MORE: Canadian warship reassigned to NATO force

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Canada has also diverted frigate HMCS Regina, which is currently on counter-terrorism and anti-piracy patrols in the Arabian Sea, to help NATO’s efforts to send a message of resolve to Russia.

Harper did not say where the ship is headed, but NATO announced earlier this month it was beefing up maritime patrols in both the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

READ MORE: Canadian CF-18 fighter jets leave for Europe to aid crisis in Ukraine

Six Canadian CF-18 fighter jets left their base in Bagotville, Que., this week, headed for an air base in Romania, and eventual patrols along that country’s border with Ukraine – and possibly over the Black Sea.

The government also said this week that a Canadian military officer is heading an international arms-control verification team investigating “unusual military activity” in Ukraine, but the inspections won’t include the disputed Crimea region, which was annexed by Russia.

WATCH:  Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird slammed what he called the “hypocrisy” of the Russian government for denouncing Ukraine’s military action against pro-Russia forces in the country’s east.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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