BRUSSELS – NEWS – Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand has concluded a visit to Europe where she met with Allies and partners to discuss key defence priorities.
On October 11, in Warsaw, Poland, Minister Anand met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence of Poland, Mariusz Błaszczak, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that advances defence cooperation between Canada and Poland.
Minister Anand also announced the deployment of approximately 40 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) combat engineers to Poland, where they will train Ukrainian sappers with basic and advanced engineering skills, engineering reconnaissance, the use of explosives for demolition work, and demining.
During the visit, Minister Anand met with CAF personnel in Poland to thank them for their service, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of Canadians.
During the second leg of the trip on October 12 and 13, Minister Anand traveled to Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels, Minister Anand:
- Convened a meeting of Ministers whose countries contribute to the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group Latvia on October 12. Ministers discussed collective efforts to expand the Battle Group to a multinational combat-capable brigade. Minister Anand reaffirmed Canada’scommitment to its leadership role of the eFP Battle Group Latvia and Canada’s intention to extend Operation REASSURANCE beyond 2023.
- Hosted a Northern Defence Dialogue meeting on October 12 with Arctic Allied and partner states, including the Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Discussions focused on evolving regional security dynamics and respective Arctic defence priorities. Minister Anand highlighted Canada’s plans to modernize Canada’s NORAD capabilities, with the largest Canadian investment in NORAD modernization in decades.
- Held a bilateral meeting with Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, Oleksii Reznikov, on October 12. Minister Anand reiterated Canada’s strong condemnation of Russian attacks on Kyiv and other population centres in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s sham referendums, and stated that Canada will continue to provide Ukraine with comprehensive military aid.
- Participated in a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting hosted by United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, on October 12. At this meeting, Minister Anand announced over $47 million in additional military donations that will assist Ukraine in defending its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.
- Attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defence Ministers’ Meeting on October 12-13. Ministers discussed the actions needed to strengthen NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, and carry out the priorities outlined in the Alliance’s Strategic Concept. Minister Anand further reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to NATO and steadfast support for Ukraine as it continues to defend its independence against Russia’s aggression.
- Held a bilateral meeting with Romania’s Minister of National Defence, Vasile Dîncu, on October 13. Minister Anand reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast commitment to supporting the security of NATO’s eastern flank, and highlighted that Canada currently has Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 aircraft deployed to Romania, where they are participating in NATO enhanced Air Policing missions.
- Held a bilateral meeting with Estonia’s Minister of Defence, Hanno Pevkur on October 13. Minister Anand and Minister Pevkur discussed security issues facing the Baltic region, and Minister Anand highlighted that earlier this year, Canada joined the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia, which contributes to strengthening Allied capacity to respond to evolving threats to our democracies taking place in the cyber domain.