NATO-Canada-Latvia: military drill against an imaginable Russian aggression

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Members of a Canadian Platoon fire at opposing forces during an exercise in Skrunda, Latvia on June 13, 2018. Canadian forces were teamed with Spanish, Italian, and Latvian platoons to act as a defending force during a battle simulation for Saber Strike 18. Saber Strike included approximately 18,000 participants from 19 countries to continue building on interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jimmie D. Pike)

Canada trains its troops to protect Eastern and Central Europe

From August 20 until September 2, 2018, Canadian troops, heading the NATO Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia, are taking part in the NAMEJS 2018 exercise, testing Latvian and NATO forces’ readiness to repulse a potential attack.

According to The Canadian Press, the scenario of the largest military drill conducted by Latvia’s Ministry of Defence and National Armed Forces involves Latvian authorities dealing with enemy cyberattacks intended to create a discord among the local population by means of misinformation before an all-out assault, at which point the Canadians and their allies will be called upon to help. There are more than 10,000 participants involved, including the local population voluntarily recruited. Despite the fact that Russia has never been officially identified as the fictional enemy for this exercise, the Canadian news agency heavily speculates that the ulterior motive is obvious in response to the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and its further involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Meanwhile, the task of the Canadian-led Battle Group is to defend “an airfield while launching attacks and counterattacks on the invading conventional forces.” As reported on the website of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Battle Group’s actions throughout the NAMEJS 2018 would be concentrated primarily in the areas of Camp Ādaži, Lielvarde Air Base and Vecumnieki. For the Battle Group, this exercise marks the completion of integration training.

At the same time, on August 17, 2018, NATO Air Command confirmed that as part of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe, Canada was sending approximately 135 servicemen and five CF-188 Hornets to Romania to participate in a NATO enhanced Air Policing mission from September to December 2018.

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