With Crimea still under Moscow’s rule and war raging in eastern Ukraine, [Canadian Defense Minister Harjit] Sajjan acknowledged Friday the fielding of the new NATO brigade is a serious step, but one that Canada is prepared to wholeheartedly support.
“As part of NATO we were giving assurance to member states there, but now this has evolved to deterrence,” the minister said….
The roughly 200 Canadian troops that have been training with allies in Poland will assume a different posture and signal their willingness to stand up to any potential interference in their host nation. A battle group also has the potential to bring with it heavy equipment, including tanks, artillery and surveillance systems….
The official announcement comes just one day after U.S. President Barack Obama challenged Canada to do more to support the military alliance….
During his speech to Parliament on Wednesday, the U.S. president’s most pointed remarks involved Canada’s commitment to NATO.
“As your NATO ally and your friend, let me say, we’ll be more secure when every NATO member, including Canada, contributes its full share to our common security,” Obama said. “Because the Canadian Armed Forces are really good. And if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you.”
The deployment would be a “core” contribution, meaning that Canadians would fill the slot permanently until NATO dissolves that force, said one source.
It would require the army to rotate one of its infantry battalions and a headquarters — perhaps as many as 500 troops — into the position once every six months.
Sajjan confirmed Canada will establish a persistent presence in the region, creating a command and structural backbone for the battalion, but he refused to discuss numbers and specifics.
“Like all deployments, we will conduct (this) deployment on a rotational basis,” he said. “When it comes to exact numbers and time frames, the prime minister will announce that.”