Polish President Andrzej Duda met with Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel today in Garrison Petawawa to show his appreciation for those CAF members who participated in Operation REASSURANCE in Poland.
“I would like to thank you on behalf of the Polish people and behalf of the Republic of Poland for you service that is rendered within NATO, an alliance of which both are countries are members. Thank you very much for boosting the security of central and eastern Europe countries and also that of my own country of Poland.
Thank you very much for serving in Poland in a difficult time after the Russian invasion of Ukraine started,” said President Duda.
The CAF first became involved with Operation REASSURANCE in April 2014. The CAF has been working in the region under the umbrella of NATO to provide assurance measures in central and eastern Europe.
Two years later, the CAF remains committed to the region. In February of this year, 220 CAF members were deployed to Poland. These soldiers, from 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, and from units within 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based in Valcartier, QC, will remain in the region for six months. During this time, they will conduct various exercises with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania to increase interoperability of NATO allied nations.
“NATO is an alliance of a defensive nature but first and most importantly it is an alliance which guards international peace and which repels any kind of illegal action,” added Duda.
The CAF’s involvement in Operation REASSURANCE also includes a maritime component. In January of this year, HMCS Fredericton joined the Standing NATO Maritime 2. The ship has conducted surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the Black and Aegean Seas.
While thanking soldiers in Petawawa, the Polish President also highlighted that the two countries have worked together in the past. The two countries have a shared military history, especially, the president pointed out, fighting side by side during the First and Second World Wars.
“It was not the first time that you cooperated with Polish soldiers. Poland and Canada. The Polish and Canadian people have got a long history of co-operation and also of freedom,” said Duda.
During his official visit to Canada, Duda was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to further discuss NATO’s presence in Europe.