Canada has extended its leadership of the NATO battalion based in Latvia until 2023, according to prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday in Riga, a day ahead of the alliance's summit in Brussels that Canada is extending its NATO commitment in Latvia by another four years to March 2023 and will boost the number of troops in the country to 540 from the current 455 in a show of ongoing solidarity with the alliance.

Canadian Prime Minister made the announcement in Riga following a meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and indicated that he hopes the increased Canadian commitment to Latvia gets the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We certainly hope that Russia will choose to become a more positive actor in world affairs than it has chosen to be in the past", Trudeau concluded.

Canada is part of a NATO battle group in Latvia, which was established as the alliance's response to Russia's surprise annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of eastern Ukraine.

The Canadian-led group is one of four in the region, and includes troops from seven NATO allies.

Trudeau's announcement comes a day ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, where the stage is set for another confrontation between world leaders and US president Donald Trump, as Canada and other NATO allies prepare to counter the U.S. president's complaint that they aren't carrying their fair share of the burden of being part of the military alliance.

 

Jul 10, 2018 20:03 Asia/Tehran
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