Harper Sees ‘Long-Term Menace’ in Russia, Sending More Canadian Troops to Europe

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, May 9, 2014Canada 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.

Image: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, May 9, 2014 (photo: Office of the Prime Minister of Canada)