Despite ramped-up training for certain units, local troops aren’t headed overseas to help with the crisis in Ukraine, a CFB Shilo spokesperson says.
Canadian soldiers based in Edmonton are scheduled to wrap up military exercises in Poland today as part of NATO reassurance measures in response to Russia’s confrontations with Ukraine.
"Right now, the answer is no," CFB Shilo public affairs officer Lori Truscott said when asked if any local soldiers will be headed to Poland, where troops went through training in parachuting, airborne operations and infantry skills alongside Polish and American counterparts in the U.S.-led exercise.
If any soldiers from Shilo were to be deployed, Truscott said, it would be announced directly from Ottawa. The public affairs branch of Canada’s Department of National Defence didn’t respond to several inquiries by the Brandon Sun this week.
Meanwhile, the local base’s Immediate Response and Non-Combat Evacuation Operation units have been going through training in recent weeks during downtime and several military vehicles have been spotted on city streets in recent weeks as student drivers complete testing.
"There’s a certain amount of training that’s taking place to make sure that everyone’s ready to go," Truscott said.
That group, she added, wouldn’t necessarily be the first to be deployed if Shilo sends soldiers overseas and the training is not necessarily Ukraine-specific.
"There are certain levels of training you need before you can send anyone anywhere and they’re making sure everyone’s got that."
Escalated violence in Ukraine sparked the Canadian military movement. Canada sent six CF-18 fighter jets to an air base in Romania last week and Canada has also diverted frigate HMCS Regina to help NATO’s efforts to send a message of resolve to Russia.
"Until Russia clearly demonstrates its respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will continue to work with our allies and our partners to further isolate Russia economically and politically," said Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird at a news conference in Ottawa last week.
» firstname.lastname@example.org, with files from The Canadian Press