Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 14, 2011 19:12 ET

Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff Visits Moscow

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2011) - The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, is conducting a three-day visit with his Russian counterpart, Army General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation / First Deputy Minister of Defence and General of the Army. The purpose of the visit is to gain the Russian perspective on a range of issues to improve and develop Canada's bilateral military relationship with Russia.

"During my first meeting with General Makarov last January in Brussels, I received his invitation to visit Moscow to expand on our initial discussions," said General Natynczyk. "This visit is an important opportunity to strengthen Canadian-Russian military ties, and exchange views on some of our common defence interests. I hope that General Makarov will honour us with a visit to Canada so we can continue to build on our relationship."

This is the first time in almost a decade that a Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff has visited Russia to meet its top military leadership. During this period, Canadian and Russian military forces have cooperated in a limited number of joint military exercises, and they currently enjoy mutually beneficial military training, visits and exchange programs.

For instance, the Department of National Defence has been engaged in military training initiatives with Russia since 1993. Since that time, hundreds of Russian military students have received training in Canada in the areas of language, in professional and staff development, and in Peace Support Operations. These cooperative programs with Russia will continue with a particular focus on exchanging information and experiences on the transformation and professional development of each country's respective armed forces.

A recent initiative is the Canada-Russian-United States military training exercise known as Vigilant Eagle, an annual NORAD-Russia air exercise designed to practice counter-terrorism operations. It has been successfully conducted twice, with planning for the 2012 iteration now underway.

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