Canadian troops set for Latvia unlikely to be deployed from CFB Petawawa – CTV News Ottawa

Canadian troops set for Latvia unlikely to be deployed from CFB Petawawa – CTV News Ottawa

It appears Canadian Armed Forces members stationed in Petawawa will not initially be deployed to Europe.
Canada announced last week that it would be deploying an additional 460 troops to Latvia as part of their commitment to NATO, amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In correspondence with CTV News, the Department of National Defence said, "Given that the artillery battery will be coming from Valcartier, it is – at the moment – unlikely that a significant Petawawa nexus be present in the immediate future."
Currently, the 2 Mechanized Brigade Group at CFB Petawawa is in a training year. It is expected that any troops deployed to Latvia at part of Operation REASSURANCE will come from the brigade in Valcartier, Que., which is currently committed to field duty. Alternatively, the brigade in Edmonton, Alta. is currently on standby.
These three brigade units rotate through a yearly cycle of committed field duty, standby, and training. Petawawa’s 2 Mechanized Brigade Group will move into standby on July 1.
"Canada has made it very clear that their intention is not to engage in direct fighting or allow their armed forces to engage in direct fighting with the Russians in the course of their invasion of the Ukraine," says Wesley Wark, a security and intelligence expert and senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
Wark says while this is the case, Russia’s unpredictability and persistence to take back former territory could leave soldiers deployed to Latvia vulnerable.
"Those troops in the Baltics, including Canadian forces – and we’ve taken the lead in Latvia on NATO’s behalf," Wark tells CTV News, "these are really troops that are now in harm’s way."
"There is certainly the possibility, although I think it is a long shot possibility, that Canada could get dragged into some kind of frontier escalation military conflict," adds Wark.
For those residents of Petawawa, whose community is bound together by the local military base, the deployment news is reassuring.
Katie Mielke is a military spouse and says her husband just returned from a deployment in Ukraine six months ago.
"I know when he was there that there was talk of [Russians] coming in," Mielke tells CTV News. "So they were kind of worried but waiting."
"I’m glad he came home when he did," Mielke went on to say." But there’s always the fear in being a military spouse that he could possibly be sent there at some point as well."
On Monday, Canada announced that they would be sending upgraded ammunition and anti-tank weapons systems to Ukraine. But despite the continued aid and economic sanctions in place, Mielke believes her country could be doing more.
"If the situation does get worse I absolutely agree that Canada should try to step in more and help more."
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