Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš calls on NATO allies involved in military deterrence in Eastern and Central Europe to make their presence more robust and permanent.
With Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Kariņš told CTV News Channel in an exclusive broadcast interview on Thursday that Operation Reassurance must change its objectives to reflect changing security dynamics in the region.
“If we think about our own defence, NATO’s defence, we have to make it much more robust, we have to make it durable. And we need to change it, say, from a tripwire defense … to an active forward defense,” he said.
He said this would deter the Russians from advancing into Latvia or its neighboring countries in the future because it was clear that their advance would be halted in the first place.
“We see what reclaimed territory means when we look at Ukraine. Territory will be completely destroyed, we know civilians will be killed, possibly tortured, etc. That’s just not acceptable,” he said.
Approximately 1,455 Canadian Forces personnel are deployed in support of Operation Reassurance, making it Canada’s largest active international military operation. As part of this group, 695 soldiers are leading a Forward Presence Battle Group specifically in Latvia.
Kariņš said improved military capabilities do not necessarily mean increasing the number of soldiers on the ground.
“What we are talking about is the ability to partition in each of the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” he said.
“As soon as military personnel speak of divisions, it means that there is a full range of defensive capabilities to deal with any type of eventuality and to be able to react immediately – not in a day or two – but immediately in the event of an attack.”
Kariņš also spoke about how his country intends to increase its defense spending, denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that he was provoked by NATO expansion and what he plans to discuss with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at their meeting on Thursday.
Watch the full interview at the top of this article.
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