Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau announced a possible commitment of troops to Europe following intelligence suggesting that Moscow is retooling for the possibility of war.
The Canadian government is considering a new commitment of hundreds of troops in Eastern Europe as part of an effort to deter Russian aggression in the region, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported last year.
This follows a report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Services – the Canadian government intelligence agency – based on research by outsiders rather than its own assessment, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hard-line policies were becoming “more deeply entrenched,” as the CBC put it, and that “Moscow is retooling its military for a fight” and possibly “mobilizing for war.”
“It is modernizing conventional military capability on a large scale; the state is mobilizing for war,” the intelligence agency report stated.
The Canadian government is also considering assuming partial command of new NATO military force to deter Russian aggression, to which the United States, Britain and Germany committed themselves on Tuesday, the CBC said. “Up to 4,000 troops are envisioned for the force, but the number coming from Canada, along with the type of equipment and vehicles that would be involved, is still being assessed,” the CBC website reported.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is planning a referendum on whether Ukraine should join the NATO alliance given polls that show 54 percent of Ukrainians now favour such a move, Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain reported on Thursday.
“Four years ago, only 16 percent (of the Ukrainian people) favoured Ukraine’s entry into NATO. Now it’s 54 percent,” the media group quoted Poroshenko as saying in an interview. (Aljazeera)
The CBC also took note of a report released last winter by the American think tank the Rand Corporation suggesting that the new NATO force would not be capable of stopping invading Russian forces and that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia could possibly be overrun within a few days unless the West stations “heavily armored brigades” in the Baltic countries. “Even before the contingent is finalized, political leaders in the Baltics have privately complained it is too small, according to published reports in Europe,” the CBC said.
Following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which had been under Ukrainian control, the West “has primarily responded to the annexation and Moscow’s support of separatists in eastern Ukraine with economic sanctions,” the Canadian broadcaster noted.
“The prevailing wisdom is that fiscal pain will bring Putin around, but the [Canadian intelligence agency] report dismissed that notion, saying two years after war erupted in Ukraine, the Kremlin ‘appears to be coherent, durable and united’ at the center,” the Canadian broadcaster said. “Western assessments that Russia is vulnerable to economic collapse and disruptive internal discontent are exaggerated,” the intelligence agency report stated.