In the News March 21
War Preparations in the Name of National Interest
Ramped Up Troop Deployments to Eastern Europe
Long before Russia took military action in Ukraine, the 30 NATO member countires were moving troops into Eastern Europe under the guise of containing “Russian aggression.” NATO also activated, for the first time, its 40,000-strong Response Force. It comprises land, air, sea and special forces units “capable of being deployed quickly on operations wherever needed.”
On February 15, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted: “We have deployed more troops, planes, and ships to the eastern part of the Alliance. Increased the readiness of our NATO Response Force. And boosted our battlegroups in the Baltic region. Just last week I was in Romania to meet additional U.S. troops deploying together with other Allies. A strong demonstration of U.S. commitment to the defence of Europe. From the Black Sea to the Baltic.”
Stoltenberg also said: “I welcome that our latest figures show seven consecutive years of increased defence spending across Europe and Canada with $270 billion extra since 2014. And I encourage Allies to continue to invest in our shared security.”
In a message to the Canadian Armed Forces published in Canadian Naval Review on February 24, General Wayne Eyre, Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff said: “While the future is uncertain, the events in Ukraine have underscored the primacy of our core mission as a fighting force: the defence of Canada and Canadian interests.”
Close to 3,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have taken part in Canada’s “Operation UNIFIER” since 2015, “to help prepare Ukraine for these challenging times,” the Chief of Defence Staff said. They have provided training, “to more than 33,000 members of the Ukrainian Security Forces,” he said.
Also, since the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014, some 13,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces “have supported NATO Assurance Measures throughout Central and Eastern Europe on Operation REASSURANCE, either through support to our initial Land Task Force in Poland; or our current enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia; through our near-persistent presence in Euro-Atlantic waters as part of NATO Standing Naval Forces; or through our support to NATO air policing efforts in Romania, Iceland, and Lithuania over the years.”
In mid-February Prime Minister Trudeau announced that up to an additional 460 Canadian troops would be sent to Latvia, adding to the 540 Canadian-led battle group currently there. The additional military support so far announced for Operation REASSURANCE in Eastern Europe includes an artillery battery of 120 troops, a frigate and a CP-140 Aurora multipurpose aircraft. Twenty-five electronic warfare personnel (a “cyber warfare” unit) have also been sent to Latvia.
The HMCS Halifax is also scheduled to join NATO forces in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, arriving in the region sometime in April, according to the Department of National Defence. The department also announced February 22 that it was putting 3,400 troops on standby to join the NATO Response Force in Europe.
More than 4,000 U.S. troops deployed to Europe on a temporary basis have had their tour of duty extended. An additional 3,000 were sent to Romania and Poland. Other U.S. troops are also on standby. This is in addition to the 12,000 U.S. troops now stationed in Germany, Poland and other NATO member countries. A report by The Hill on March 7 stated that the U.S. military had about 100,000 personnel stationed in Europe on either a rotational or a permanent basis at that time.
The UK currently has more than 900 British military personnel in Estonia, more than 100 troops in Ukraine and approximately 150 soldiers in Poland. More troops are being deployed including 400 British marines to Poland.
Other NATO members deploying additional troops to eastern Europe are Italy (3,400), Spain (130), Portugal (200 to Romania), Belgium (300 to Romania), Germany (350 to Lithuania), Denmark (200 troops to Estonia, and another 800 on standby) and others. France said it will be sending “several hundred” troops.
(TML Daily, posted March 21, 2022)