VALCARTIER, Que. -- About 90 soldiers from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Valcartier, Que., have deployed to Poland as part of a NATO response to Russian actions in central and eastern Europe.

Over the next month, approximately 200 soldiers will take over Operation Reassurance duties from the 4th Canadian Division's 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Petawawa, Ont.

Officials say the soldiers are to take part in a series of exercises over the next six months with NATO allies and security partners.

Members of the Canadian Forces have been in central and eastern Europe since May 2014.

Earlier this month, a Canadian warship carrying Stephen Harper in the Baltic Sea was shadowed by two Russian frigates, giving the prime minister a front-row seat in the naval chess game between the West and Russia.

Harper's visit with Canadian sailors came during a planned NATO training exercise called Baltops 2015, part of the alliance's ongoing reassurance mission aimed at countering Russian-backed unrest in Ukraine.