Armed Forces

Canadian Soldiers To Be Deployed To Ukraine. Decisions Made By The Government

Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, during a press conference which took place on Tuesday, 14th April, stated that Canada would support Ukraine. The conference also involved the Canadian Minister of Defence – Jason Kenney, who is also acting as the Minister of Multiculturalism, along with the Chief of the General Staff, General Thomas Lawson.

Canadian help would be based on significant additional military resources which, as the officials stated, would make it easier to prepare and increase the military potential of the Ukrainian armed forces. Ottawa government is going to deploy ca. 200 soldiers to Ukraine until 31st March 2017. Their stay would be long- and short-term – depending on the  training operations conducted.

The area of activities undertaken by the Canadians is to include, inter alia: neutralization of the ammunition, training regarding IED neutralization, training for the military police, medical training, flight-safety training and training related to modernization of the logistical systems. The Canadian soldiers would also be involved in the tactical exercises, conducted individually and together with the units of the Ukrainian National Guard, along with the allies from the United States.

The mission is to begin this summer, and it is to cover the scope of the Military Training and Cooperation Program. The trainings would be carried out within the Yavoriv firing range, where the US soldiers are also to be present. Another set of operations is to take place in the Kamianets-Podilskyi Demining Centre of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, acting under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. All of the above results from the Letter of Intent signed by Kiev and Ottawa back in December 2014, regarding the joint military training exercises and expansion of the Ukrainian defence capabilities, undertaken in the light of the Russian aggression.

Canada has been involved, to a large extent, in provision of humanitarian and military help for the Ukrainians from the very beginning of the crisis. However, the help has been so far limited to non-lethal measures. The Canadian governments already has sent 30 thousand coats, 30 thousand military trousers, 70 thousand pairs of Gore-Tex shoes, 238 PVS-7 NVG’s, 1134 medical kits, tents or sleeping bags, to Ukraine. The Canadian government also transferred 1 million dollars to the NATO Ukrainian fund, which is to make it possible to expand the Ukrainian command and communication and computer networks.

The Ottawa’s decision is, above all, a response to the official diplomatic efforts undertaken by the Kiev authorities. The help bundle is to support the Ukrainian efforts regarding the sovereignty and stability, in the light of the Russian threat. Canadians have consulted their actions with the main allies.

The stance taken by Canada has been clear, from the very beginning of the conflict. This is stressed on the Canadian PM’s website: “Canada’s position on Ukraine has been clear since the outset: we recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and will never recognize the illegal Russian occupation of Crimea or any part of that country.” What is more, Canada stands together with the Ukrainian nation, as Harper stated: “Canada continues to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of the Putin regime’s ongoing aggression. The Canadian military contribution being announced today will help Ukrainian forces personnel to better defend their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”