Jul 08, 2016

By Michael Kramer

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Canada is waiting to see what other countries will contribute – as it withholds key details on a plan to help a NATO force in Eastern Europe.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will take command of a 1,000-strong multinational force in Latvia – as the alliance strengthens its  presence in the Baltics and Poland – in response to recent Russian actions.

Trudeau made the announcement at the NATO leaders’ summit in Poland.

Officials say Canada would send about half that force, in addition to equipment –  such as armoured vehicles. The exact size and scope of Canada’s contribution won’t be known until at least next week – when other allies come forward with their own contributions.

Trudeau also says Canada will occasionally deploy up to six CF-18s to help patrol against incursions of allied airspace – and will also continue to send a naval frigate to the region, as it has done since April 2014.

NATO says it is boosting its presence in Eastern Europe – after Russia annexed Crimea and started supporting separatist forces in Ukraine two years ago.

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