Canada is sending additional troop to Eastern Europe as part of the NATO response to Russian aggression and Stephen Harper says his government is looking at making a bigger long-term defence commitment to the region to guard against Vladimir Putin’s “menace and expansion. . . .”
“I believe what is occurring in Russia under President Putin is a serious development with serious long-term consequences. I don’t believe we should think for a moment that it will disappear in the near future,” Mr. Harper said in a joint press conference in Warsaw with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
“The menace, the expansion he represents – I think it’s a long-term menace,” Mr. Harper said of the Russian president.
“Therefore … Canada is expending additional military resources here right now. And we are very much looking at options for additional presence going forward,” he said. . . .
Mr. Harper avoided saying whether Canada supports a call for new NATO bases in countries that border Russia. The alliance will consider this proposal when NATO leaders meet in Wales in September. . . .
Canada already has six CF-18 fighter jets flying air policing operations in Romania, a frigate in the eastern Mediterranean and about 50 paratroopers training in Poland as part of the NATO military response to the new threat posed by Russia.
On Tuesday, Canada announced a Canadian Armed Forces contingent of about 75 soldiers will join Exercise Saber Strike 2014, an annual U.S.-led security co-operation exercise.