Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Mum on Contribution as NATO Beefs Up Presence in Eastern Europe

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Mum on Contribution as NATO Beefs Up Presence in Eastern Europe

Article excerpt

Cda absent in NATO moves on Ukraine

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OTTAWA - NATO has laid out plans to beef up its presence in eastern Europe, and Canada is noticeably absent from the list of countries that have acknowledged they'll send military forces.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance's secretary general, said Wednesday it will deploy additional air, sea and land forces to former East Bloc countries in response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine.

The United States, Britain, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Germany are all planning to contribute fighter jets to increase air patrols over the Baltic region. France and the Czech Republic have also offered aircraft, but they might be employed in missions over Poland.

"We do have the necessary capacity to implement these measures that have been recommended by our military authorities," Rasmussen said in Brussels.

"We already know that some Allies will come forward with concrete contributions and I'm sure that more will follow."

The Harper government is still studying how to respond, despite being one of the harshest voices condemning Russian interference.

"Canada takes its role in NATO very seriously, and we have been, and continue to review ways that Canada can play a constructive role in this reassurance package," Adam Hodge, spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said in an email.

"We continue to condemn Russia for its illegal and irresponsible actions in Ukraine and call on the Russia Federation to de-escalate tensions immediately."

Baird will be visiting allies in the coming days, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia in an effort "to show Canada's support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity," Hodge added.

Rasmussen refused to detail how the new forces would be employed, but said in addition to increased air sorties there will be more NATO ships in the Baltic and in the eastern Mediterranean. …

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