February 3, 2022 – Riga, Latvia – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand concluded a weeklong trip to Europe, wherein she met with key Allies and partners in Ukraine, at NATO Headquarters, and in Latvia.
During her visit to Ukraine, Minister Anand emphasized Canada’s support for the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security. She met with Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrsky, and visited with Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed on the Operation UNIFIER training mission. Minister Anand also visited the PS752 Memorial, the Holomodor Memorial and the Memorial Wall to pay her respects on behalf of Canada.
On February 1st, Minister Anand met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. During the meeting, they discussed the security threat faced by Ukraine, as well as Canada’s recent announcement of a three-year extension and expansion of Operation UNIFIER. During the meeting, Minister Anand and Secretary General Stoltenberg also discussed:
- Priorities for the upcoming NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting later this month;
- Ways to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence posture;
- Canada’s ongoing work to establish and host a NATO Centre of Excellence on Climate and Security; and
- Canada’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
While in Latvia on the final stage of her trip, Minister Anand met with Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, as well as Dr. Artis Pabriks, Latvia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. They discussed Canada’s concerns with recent Russian activities and emphasized the importance of continued collaboration among NATO Allies to address transatlantic security challenges. Prime Minister Kariņš thanked Canada for its leadership role as the Framework Nation for the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia, where Canada is contributing to assurance and deterrence measures alongside NATO Allies.
On the final day of her trip, the Minister – joined by the Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie – also visited Canadian troops deployed to Latvia and personally thanked them for their continued efforts to maintain security and stability in the region. She underscored how Canada’s continued presence in Latvia demonstrates its strong commitment to supporting NATO’s deterrence and defence efforts, which are critical to global security and the rules-based international order