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Feb 7 2022

Commander visits Latvia

RIGA, Latvia - From 1 to 4 February, Lieutenant General Jürgen-Joachim von Sandrart visited Latvia. He met with the leadership of the Latvian Armed Forces, Multinational Division North (MND N), NATO Force Integration Unit Latvia (NFIU Latvia), Canadian Task Force Latvia, the Latvian Mechanized Brigade and enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia (eFP BG Latvia) to introduce himself as the new Commander of Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) and to strengthen the already close cooperation between the Corps, its main subordinate units, the Latvian host nation and the Allies in Latvia.

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LTG Kalniņš (Latvia's ChoD) and LTG von Sandrart (COM MNC NE) / Photo by MNC NE PAO 

After his arrival in Riga, COM MNC NE took the opportunity to visit the German Embassy and meet with Mr Christian Heldt, the German Ambassador to Latvia, in Riga. "We had a very informative and enlightening discussion," LTG von Sandrart summarized the meeting afterwards.

On 2 February, LTG von Sandrart and his delegation were briefed by LTG Leonīds Kalniņš, the Latvian Chief of Defence (ChoD), on recent developments within the Latvian Armed Forces.

The Latvian Armed Forces are very visible in fulfilling their role in NATO's deterrence posture on the north-eastern flank of the Alliance,

LTG von Sandrart thanked LTG Leonīds Kalniņš for his great hospitality and his open-minded, clear and helpful insights, advice and guidance.

COM MNC NE did not miss the chance to meet with Canadian Task Force Latvia, a national staff element to facilitate and support the Canadian Armed Forces in Latvia and represent Canada as the framework nation of eFP Battlegroup Latvia. "Your unwavering commitment to enhancing security in the Baltic Sea Region is a testament to the Canadian Forces' prowess and professionalism," said LTG von Sandrart during a meeting with Vice Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, the Commander of the Canadian Combined Joint Operational Centre, the Canadian entity responsible for the Canadian Armed Forces in Latvia.

Nearby, within the newly built Canadian Task Force staff building, the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) is located. There, LTG von Sandrart was briefed on current tasks and developments. NFIU Latvia is the primary NATO point of entry for troops to be deployed in Latvia. LTG von Sandrart thanked the 40 staff members from 12 Allied nations:

NFIU Latvia demonstrates NATO's ability to cooperate and integrate our forces effectively.

On the same day, COM MNC NE also visited the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence. "Communication forms an important element of leadership. Information warfare is a dynamic area," LTG von Sandrart stated after extremely fruitful talks with Jānis Sārts, the Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.

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LTG von Sandrart addresses the NFIU Latvia staff / Photo by NFIU LVA PAO 
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LTG von Sandrart at NATO STRATCOM Centre of Excellence with its director, Mr. Sārts / Photo by MNC NE PAO
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LTC Richel (COM eFP BG LVA) accompanies LTG von Sandrart around the Ādaži training area / Photo by MNC NE PAO

On the third day, COM MNC NE visited Multinational Division North in Ādaži and was briefed by its Commander, Major General Flemming Mathiasen, on the recent status of the Division. On its way to achieving full operational capability, the Division will act as a war-fighting division with the mission to deter any attack on Estonia and Latvia and, if deterrence fails, to defend Estonia and Latvia in order to protect their national sovereignty. "MND-N HQ will be of huge importance," LTG von Sandrart stated clearly. "Commanding responsibility at all levels requires us to become a first servant of our mission."

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LTG von Sandrart (COM MNC NE) and MG Mathiasen (COM MND-N) in Ādaži / Photo by OR-3 A. Beļavskis, LVA Mechanized Infantry Brigade 

Later on, COM MNC NE and his delegation were fortunate to participate in air-land interaction as part of NATO's Neptun Strike 22 demonstration when US fighter jets interacted with joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) on the ground. "This demonstration of the ability of NATO Allies is a strong message towards any potential adversary, reducing the chance of conflict," LTG von Sandrart emphasized the purpose of Neptun Strike 22.

The last day of LTG von Sandrart's tour in Latvia was dedicated to a visit to the Latvian Mechanized Brigade. Impressed by the high level of professionalism, COM MNC NE said:

It is amazing to see how well the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup is incorporated in the Brigade and how they bolster their combat capabilities.

COM MNC NE also took the chance to visit the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup itself. Canada is the Framework Nation of the Battlegroup. It was a great pleasure for LTG von Sandrart to meet with the soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Dan Richel. "Being a soldier means preparing for the worst," COM MNC NE articulated and he added: "Being ready to defend your country and your Allies at all times: This is what enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia stands for."

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LTG von Sandrart tours the Ādaži training area / Photo by MNC NE PAO
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LTG von Sandrart tours the Ādaži training area / Photo by MNC NE PAO

After four days of intensive impressions, talks, meetings and inside views in Latvia, LTG von Sandrart summarized: "We all here face the same challenges, defend the same ground, rely on the same resources and stick to the same timeline. That's why there is no time to lean back. We have to be combat ready. That's why we are bound together."

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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