Canada is deploying six F-16 fighter jets to Eastern Europe in support of the war threats against Russia made by the US, Germany and NATO, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Thursday.

Harper also said that Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will strengthen their participation in NATO’s command structure by sending a score of additional CAF officers to work at NATO’s European headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

And he suggested that further CAF deployments may be announced in the near future and additional sanctions imposed on Russian businesses and officials in coordination with the US and the European Union.

Harper and his Conservative government, to enthusiastic applause from the opposition parties and Canada’s corporate media, have been making bellicose anti-Russian statements for weeks.

Turning reality on its head, they have lauded the US- and German-instigated, fascist-spearheaded coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected president as a “democratic revolution,” and they have accused Russia of “aggression” and “imperialism,” when it is the western powers that have aggressively intervened in the Ukraine to install a pro-western client regime, knowing full that the Ukraine’s subordination to US and German imperialism constitutes an existential threat to Russia.

The CAF fighters, pilots and support staff will be based in Lask, Poland. They will participate in the stepped-up NATO patrols over the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe that were a key element in the expanded NATO presence in Eastern Europe announced Wednesday by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Dressed up as a “reassurance package” for the states bordering Russia that have been incorporated into NATO over the past two decades, the NATO deployment to Eastern Europe is an act of aggression, meant to shore up the coup-installed ultra-rightwing government in Kyiv and threaten and prepare for war with Russia.

Flanked by CAF head General Tom Lawson, Harper indicated the deployment is open ended and is only the first salvo in a major shift in Canada’s military-strategic posture

Russian “expansionism “and “militarism” are, claimed Harper, “a long-term, serious threat to global peace and security.”

Media reports indicate that the Harper government is now considering overturning the 2005 decision of its Liberal predecessor not to participate in the US’s anti-ballistic missile shield. While presented as a defensive measure, the US’s anti-ballistic missile defence program is aimed at enabling Washington to wage “winnable” nuclear war.

Canada’s government may also now give a green light to an increased NATO presence in the Arctic.

Within the G-7 and NATO, Harper and his Conservative government have been working side-by-side with the US in pressing the European powers to take an even more aggressive stance against Russia.

Last Monday, Harper appeared alongside the ambassadors to Canada of the Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia and the Czech Republic to promote fresh lies about the events in the Ukraine. He denounced the opposition in the majority Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine to the coup-installed, ultra-nationalist government in Kyiv as “strictly the work of Russian provocateurs sent by the Putin regime.”

He then cynically and hypocritically invoked international law. “It should be a great concern to all of us,” declared Harper, “when a major power acts in a way that is so clearly aggressive, militaristic and imperialistic.”

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