Canada’s Prime Minister announced today that the Royal Canadian Air Force will send 6 CF-18 fighter aircraft to Lask in Poland in enhance the readiness of NATO allies in Eastern Europe. Twenty staff officers will be also leaving Canada to join the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe to assist NATO.
“Canada continues to strongly condemn Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine and its ongoing aggressive military provocation. Along with our NATO allies, we recognize the need to enhance security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. To this end, Canada is offering the following capabilities to enhance the readiness of NATO allies: six Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter aircrafts and up to 20 staff officers to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe to assist NATO planning efforts. Canada’s offer has been well received by NATO. Canada remains steadfast in its support for Ukraine and will not stand idly by while its sovereignty and territorial integrity are threatened. Together with our allies, we will continue to monitor events closely and take coordinated action to enhance Europe’s security and show our support for the people of Ukraine.” [sic]
Canada was one of the first country to impose sanctions on Russia following the Crimea crisis. While Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird ruled out a Western military intervention in Ukraine, NATO mobilised its troops to fulfill its commitment to ensure the security of its eastern European members. This will de facto ensure the presence of a quick reaction force in the area, should the Ukrainian situation change. The fighters would be Canada’s initial contribution to this increased presence.
There was no confirmation on when the jets and the personnel would be deployed but CBC wrote about Harper’s meeting with Eastern Europe allies.