Canada to bolster Latvian NATO deployment with more Leopard tanks

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Canada will bolster its force in Latvia with the deployment of 15 Leopard 2A4M tanks as part of NATO efforts to build a combat-capable brigade in a country that borders with Russia, the defense minister said on Friday.

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The Army tank squadron will be fully deployed by the fall, Defense Minister Anita Anand said, speaking to reporters from Brussels.

“This will significantly boost the capabilities of the Canada lead NATO battle group in Latvia, ensuring its continued ability to protect the eastern flank of our alliance,” Anand said.

Canada is in the process of increasing its presence in Latvia, where it has 800 members of its armed forces in its largest foreign military deployment. The Canada-led NATO battle group in Latvia is made up from contributions from 11 nations.

Canada, which has one of the world's largest Ukrainian diasporas, has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine in its war with Russia, and has supplied military and financial assistance to Kyiv since the invasion in February 2022.

It is also a founding member of NATO.

“Let me be clear. Canada and all NATO allies will always defend every inch of NATO territory, and we are deploying the necessary capabilities and personnel to make good on that promise,” Anand said.

Anand spoke virtually with reporters in Ottawa amid meetings of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

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