NATO defence ministers recently concluded a meeting on international security at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The two-day session, which wrapped on Oct. 5, was attended by national defence minister Harjit S. Sajjan. The meetings provided defence ministers with an opportunity to discuss the global security environment and threats facing the Alliance. Defence ministers deliberated on a number of issues including the ongoing implementation of the Alliance’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture, cyber defence, and countering hybrid warfare. During the meetings, Allies also expressed their continued support for NATO’s political and security assistance to Georgia.
“NATO is important to Canada, and Canada is important to NATO,” Sajjan said in a statement. “Since its creation in 1949, we have played a strong and active role in missions to advance peace and security around the world. Today, Canada continues to take a leadership role within the Alliance by providing contributions to NATO missions, operations and activities.”
During the Brussels sessions, Sajjan reiterated Canada’s support for the Ukraine, along with other nations providing direct security assistance to Ukraine. He also co-hosted, with his Latvian counterpart, a meeting of nations contributing to the Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Latvia. Sajjan also took the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with many counterparts, including the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and Romania.
Ukraine has faced a crisis since the Soviet Union annexed Crimea in 2014. Ukrainian forces continue to engage Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway eastern republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, a conflict that has killed around 10,500 people.
As part of Operation Unifier, Canadian soldiers have provided Ukraine troops with instruction on small arms marksmanship, defusing improvised explosive devices or IED’s, infantry fighting tactics, communications, mounting mechanized operations, logistical support, and medical training in providing basic first aid and casualty evacuation. As part of Operation Reassurance, Canada has established its largest sustained military presence in Europe in over a decade by leading a multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Latvia.
Look for our article on NATO and the Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Latvia in our fall issue.