RIGA - Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the Canadian military presence in Latvia and expressed Latvia's readiness to continue working on expanding the presence and moving towards the establishment of a combat-capable brigade.
According to the Presidential Chancery, during the meeting the parties also discussed the support of both countries to Ukraine, as well as economic cooperation, especially in innovation, high technologies and investments.
The officials discussed the priorities of the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, as well as the situation in Russia and Belarus. Rinkevics expressed his conviction that the NATO Summit in Vilnius should make progress on the Alliance's new deterrence and defense plans.
"Latvia's goal is the permanent deployment of air and missile defense assets in the Baltic States. We expect a clear roadmap for future NATO-Ukraine relations from the NATO Summit in Vilnius. I would also like to express my gratitude for Canada's significant assistance to Ukraine," emphasized the President of Latvia.
He also welcomed Latvia's cooperation with Canada to achieve the common goal of ending Russia's impunity for its crimes of aggression against Ukraine. During the conversation, Rinkevics stressed that the establishment of a special tribunal for crimes of aggression against Ukraine is essential to ensure full accountability, including on the part of Russia's top leadership.
As reported, Trudeau is visiting Latvia ahead of this week's NATO Summit in Vilnius. Canada is leading the NATO Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia, which is to be expanded to brigade level.
One of the most important issues for Latvia at the NATO Vilnius Summit is the endorsement of specific defense plans for the region, including an agreement on a roadmap for the transformation of the Canadian-led unit from a battalion to a brigade.