A group of soldiers left Edmonton International Airport on Wednesday to head to Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance, a NATO mission involving the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Some people have said it’s a training mission but it’s not,” said Lt.-Col. Eric Angell, who will command a multi-nation battle group of about 1,400 soldiers once he arrives in Latvia. “It is a deterrence mission, that’s why we are there…. we gain credibility by doing that training.”
The Canadian Armed Forces have said the military exercises in the Baltic states, which Canada has been taking part in since 2014, are to “improve interoperability with allies and demonstrate NATO’s resolve to protect Alliance territories and partners.”
Angell, who has previously served in Afghanistan and on a NATO mission in Bosnia, said he is one of about 150 soldiers, primarily from Western Canada, who were scheduled to depart for the mission on Wednesday.
“As a Canadian and as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I couldn’t be more proud of our country for coming on board for this mission,” he said. “This is a good mission, it really is.
“It demonstrates the strength that exists in NATO, it demonstrates our commitment to our allies and our partners in Europe and it definitely commits to a more stable and secure Europe.”
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of Operation Reassurance
Angell said as part of the mission, NATO has other battle groups, led by different nations, in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland as well.
He said the battle group in Latvia, which will work with Latvian soldiers, is not only unique because it is made up of soldiers from several different countries, but also because it possesses “the full range of combat capabilities.”
The soldiers who left Edmonton on Wednesday are from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group
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