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May 5, 2014
Canadian soldiers departing for Poland, May 2, 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will send soldiers to Poland to take part in NATO exercises amid growing concerns about Russian aggression toward Ukraine. . . .

"The Putin regime's persistent military aggression and its ongoing illegal occupation of Crimea and other parts of Ukraine threaten the stability and security of central and Eastern Europe," Harper said.

Approximately 50 troops from the 3rd Canadian Division based in Edmonton will depart Friday to take part in Exercise Orzel Alert in Swidwin, Poland, next week.

The soldiers will "conduct training in parachuting, airborne operations and infantry skills alongside Polish and American counterparts in this United States-led exercise with a view to enhancing Alliance interoperability and readiness," according to a release from the prime minister's office on Friday.

The move comes just days after six CF-18 fighter jets left Canada to join a NATO mission in Romania and the Department of National Defence announced that the warship HMCS Regina would be redeployed to a NATO group as part of a Ukraine "reassurance mission. . . ."

The government says this latest deployment, though small, is intended to send a two-part message: That Canada is willing to stand with NATO and that NATO is standing up against Russia.

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