Latvia and Canada announce joint training for Ukrainian junior officers
On Wednesday, 10 May, Defence Minister Ināra Mūrniece met with Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, in Ottawa (Canada). Minister thanked Canada for its defence leadership and commitment to stronger regional security of Latvia and the Baltics. During the meeting, Ministers Anand and Mūrniece announced a new joint Canadian-Latvian Junior Officer leadership development training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Latvia.
‘Russian aggression against Ukraine has profoundly changed the world order as we know it. It will continue to influence the global processes for years to come. We must therefore invest in development of our defence capabilities and speed up our development efforts. We must also continue to support Ukraine in all ways possible. Latvia and Canada are among Ukraine’s most active supporters and we work closely with country’s military. It is wonderful to see Latvia and Canada collaborate and jointly training for junior officers from Armed Forces of Ukraine in Latvia to help Ukraine strengthen its potential to overcome Russian military occupation,’ Minister Mūrniece underlined.
Training is expected to start shortly, in the next several days. Canadian Armed Forces will send ten instructors for the training in Latvia, while Latvia is ready to contribute both its instructors and accommodation for the Ukrainian officers arriving in Latvia. ‘This is an open-ended training, which means that it will be extended as long as Ukrainian Armed Forces need it,’ Defence Minister explained.
Joint Canadian-Latvian Junior Officer leadership development training for the Armed Forces of Ukraine will help Ukraine overcome Russia militarily while also strengthening Canadian-Latvian defence cooperation on the bilateral level.
Meeting also focused on other areas of bilateral defence cooperation, such as NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia, which will be enhanced from battalion to a brigade-size unit, and national positions of Latvia and Canada for the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius.
Canada’s Minister of National Defence reaffirmed country’s unwavering commitment to implementing the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid. Minister Anand also informed that Canada will fast-track procurement of new defence equipment such as anti-tank missiles, counter uncrewed aircraft systems and close-range air defence systems for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group it leads in Latvia. According to Minister, Canada is also actively working with other Allies of the eFP Battle Group Latvia on increased contribution to the objective of surging battle group to combat brigade size.
‘Latvia is grateful to Canada for its efforts to develop NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia. In line with decisions taken at the Alliance’s Madrid Summit, Latvia will prioritise faster construction of Selonian Training Area, which is vital for the battle group and its troops in terms of exercise infrastructure and accommodation,’ Minister Mūrniece said.
On 9 May 2023, Ministers Anand and Mūrniece visited the Canadian Armed Forces Base Petawawa where they met with administration and troops who will be deployed to Latvia this summer and join the Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia. Ministers then toured base’s facilities. Minister Mūrniece also met with members of the Standing Committee on National Defence of Canadian Parliament in Ottawa to discuss current geopolitical environment and challenges faced by the democratic world. Meeting also focused on ways of overcoming these challenges and existing and future bilateral Canada-Latvia defence cooperation priorities.
Ināra Mūrniece also laid a wreath in the Memorial Hall of the Canadian War Museum to honour the memory of fallen Canadian soldiers who have died while serving.
Working visit of Minister Mūrniece also included a diaspora event in Ottawa, during which she thanked Canadian Latvians for maintaining and nurturing of Latvian identity in Canada.
As announced earlier, Defence Minister of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece visited Canada on 8-11 May 2023. While in Ottawa, she met with her Canadian counterpart and other officials.
Head of the Media Relations Section
Military Public Affairs Department