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450 Canadian soldiers to join NATO force in Latvia

Justin Trudeau attends his first NATO summit in Poland

WARSAW, Poland – Canada’s defence chief says the country will deploy about 450 soldiers and armoured vehicles to Latvia as part of a beefed-up NATO presence in Eastern Europe that aims to serve as a deterrent to Russia.

Gen. Jonathan Vance says the Canadians will team up with other allies to grow the force in Latvia to around 1,000 troops.

That’s not large enough to threaten Russia, Vance says, but enough to make it take a second look before taking any aggressive action.

WATCH: President Barack Obama said on Friday that the US is sending an additional 1,000 US troops to Poland as part of a NATO effort to reinforce its presence on the alliance’s eastern flank.

President Obama commits to deploying 1000 troops to Poland during NATO summit
President Obama commits to deploying 1000 troops to Poland during NATO summit

Vance is with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in Poland, where leaders from NATO’s 28 countries have gathered for two days of talks dominated by concerns about Russia.

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In addition to troops, Canada will deploy up to six CF-18s to Europe on an occasional basis to help patrol allied airspace.

Canada will also continue sending naval frigates to the region, as it has done since April 2014.