Secretary General marks deployment of NATO battlegroups during visit to Latvia
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to Allied forces during a ceremony on Monday (19 June 2017) to mark the deployment of the NATO multinational battlegroup in Latvia. It is one of four now fully deployed to the eastern part of the Alliance in response to the changed security environment. Canada is leading the NATO battlegroup in Latvia, Germany and the United Kingdom are leading similar forces in Lithuania and Estonia, while the United States commands a NATO battlegroup in Poland.
Alongside Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis, Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, and Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Mr. Stoltenberg addressed the multinational force, which will serve alongside Latvian troops to defend the Alliance and deter aggression. The Canadian-led force based at Ādaži military camp will include troops and equipment from Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. The Secretary General said the four battlegroups send a powerful message that NATO stands as one.
Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that the NATO battlegroups are also proof of the enduring strength of the transatlantic bond, with soldiers from North America and Europe serving together to keep the Alliance safe.
Mr Stoltenberg then held talks in Riga with Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and the Speaker of the Parliament, Ināra Mūrniece. The Secretary General will have discussions on Tuesday (20 June 2017) with senior government leaders in Lithuania. He will also visit the German led battlegroup there and watch it and other NATO forces take part in Exercise Iron Wolf.