NEWS

Canada to send 6 CF-18s for NATO operation in Eastern Europe

04/17/2014 11:33 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT
Canada is sending six CF-18s and military personnel to assist NATO in operations in Eastern Europe.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the measures Thursday morning. The move comes following a request from NATO amid increasing tensions in Eastern Ukraine.

Harper said the military assets will be used on enhanced operations in Eastern Europe. 

"This is in response to the situation that's developing there, and frankly, more generally to the concern that we have on what really is expansionism and militarism on the part of Russia under the presidency of Mr. Putin," Harper said during a photo op with senior military officials.

"I believe this to be a long-term serious threat to global peace and security and we're always prepared to work with our allies in NATO and elsewhere to try and bring whatever stability we can to the situation."

The fighter jets will be based at Lask, Poland.

Sources tell CBC News that this is "incremental posturing," meaning there will be a small a number of support staff to fly and maintain the planes.  

Canada will also provide a contingent of approximately 20 Canadian Armed Forces officers to NATO headquarters in Brussels. These officers will be a part of security planning. 

There is no word on when the assets are to be deployed.  

Harper was meeting with the chief of Canada's defence staff, Gen. Tom Lawson, and other military leaders in Ottawa.

Earlier this week, Harper sat down with MarcinBosacki, the Polish ambassador to Canada​, and envoys from Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic and condemned Russian "provocateurs" for fomenting untrest in eastern Ukraine. Harper called the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin "aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic" and a grave threat to world peace.

Harper said the situation in Ukraine is getting worse.

"You can certainly be sure that Canada will take additional measures. We've already imposed a number of sanctions, and we will clearly be taking further action," he said.

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