The Canadian Navy and its allies deploy to the Arctic


The Canadian Navy and its allies deploy in the Arctic

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">Royal Canadian Navy ships and their allies set sail for the Arctic.

The Royal Canadian Navy began its Operation Nanook Arctic deployment on Tuesday, which aims to strengthen collaboration among NATO allies and send the message to Russia that Canada and the Alliance are capable of to deploy and protect this region of the globe.

This type of exercise has been organized since 2007 by the Canadian Navy. This year, however, strained relations with Russia give Operation Nanook a significance it did not have 15 years ago. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last Sunday that he wanted to strengthen Moscow's position in the Arctic, both commercially and militarily.

The primary goal [of Operation Nanook] is to see things and be seen. Let our backyard, Canada, be patrolled. We are able to ensure the sovereignty of our territory, summarizes the commanding officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf, Guillaume Côté, who is taking part in the exercise.

The warships left Halifax for the six-week operation. The Canadian and American ships will head first to Newfoundland and Labrador, then head for the Arctic, via Nuuk in Greenland.

The ships paraded along the Halifax docks before heading for the Arctic.

The Canadian Navy vessels are accompanied by American, French, British and Danish vessels for this Arctic surveillance mission.

This is a region where NATO is seeking to intensify collaboration between allies to make the Russians understand that these countries are able to defend their interests there, says Adam Lajeunesse, professor at the University St. Francis Xavier and Arctic Security Analyst.

“The Russians will put more effort and develop their facilities in the region […] This will be a crucial element that will guide the policies of Canada and NATO in the coming years.

—Adam Lajeunesse, Arctic Security Analyst

Adam Lajeunesse, associate professor at St. Francis Xavier University and tenured of the Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Canadian Arctic Maritime Security.

The Royal Canadian Navy and NATO want to send a clear message to Russia that they cannot venture [into the Arctic] without consequences, explains Mr. Lajeunesse.

< p class="e-p">The Navy has recently acquired new offshore vessels, such as HMCS Harry DeWolf, commanded by Captain Guillaume Côté. This will be his first outing at the helm of this ship.

This is the first time we've had a ship like this in many, many years. years, rejoices Captain Côté.

“It's brand new, we've had it for two years now.

— Commander Guillaume Côté, Commanding Officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf

Six such ships have been ordered by the Navy from the Irving Shipyard in Halifax. So far, two have been delivered – including HMCS Harry DeWolf – and are participating in Operation Nanook.

Canadian navy ships are on their way to the Arctic for a patrol. The Canadian Forces have been organizing this operation for 15 years, but it takes on particular importance this year because of the war in Ukraine. The report by Valérie Gamache.

Their hull has been reinforced so that they can move freely through most of the Arctic territory. The structure of the buildings is thus more appropriate for venturing into regions that have been a little more ignored in recent years, notes Captain Côté.

After refueling in Nuuk, the ships of war who will participate in Operation Nanook will have fun discovering how to operate in the middle of the ice, underlines Captain Côté.

“You also have to learn to work with allies, and that's a particular challenge in the Arctic. »

— Commander Guillaume Côté, Commanding Officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf

Commander Guillaume Côté, commanding officer of HMCS Harry DeWolf.

Vladimir Putin believes that NATO's military infrastructure is the main threat to Russia. In this context, strengthening collaboration between the allies can be decisive, and this is one of the objectives of Operation Nanook.

In March, the head of he Canadian Armed Forces staff, General Wayne Eyre, said it was not inconceivable that Canada's sovereignty could be challenged in the North.

The threat of a Russian incursion into the Canadian Arctic is very low at the moment, he said at the time, but, in his view, Canada's sovereignty could be challenged, as this region is vulnerable due to its small population and lack of infrastructure.

Tensions between Russia and NATO have been at their highest in recent months. Already in March, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) held training in the Arctic.

Royal Canadian Navy ships and their allies set sail for the Arctic.

Moscow had submitted a request to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in April 2021.

If l' UN gives its approval, Russia would move closer to Canada's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coast. Russian demand exceeds that of Canada and Denmark, unheard of, according to Robert Huebert of the University of Calgary.

Canada and its allies seek to assert their capabilities to intervene in this territory, but also to defend the Northwest Passage – which is also coveted by the United States.

With information from Valérie Gamache< /em>


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