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Canada is sending military to train UkrainiansOUS News

Ottawa –

Canada is sending military instructors to the United Kingdom to help teach Ukrainians how to fight an invading Russian army.

Announcing the plan on Thursday, Defense Minister Anita Anand said 225 members of the Canadian Armed Forces would eventually remain in Britain for an initial period of four months.

There they will work with counterparts in Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand to train Ukrainian soldiers on the fundamentals of troops.

“This is what we do with training missions like this, helping our allies and our allies get attacked,” Anand said during a virtual news conference. “It is a priority for us as a country that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine and our allies.”

The move comes nearly six months after Canada suspended its previous training mission in Ukraine, when Russian forces invaded the country in February.

It also came hours before Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada was expected to publicly express dismay at Ottawa’s decision to allow the Russian energy giant to return to Montreal to repair pipeline equipment. was.

Ukrainian forces have made a fervent defense of their country since thousands of Russian forces launched an attack on 24 February. But those early successes on the battlefield and the ensuing Peace War in the East have not been without cost.

The Ukrainian government said in June that 10,000 of its soldiers had been killed, thousands wounded and missing since the Russian offensive.

Officials have also said between 100 and 200 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed and hundreds injured every day.

Canadian troops continued to work with Ukrainian counterparts after a previous training mission, known as Operation Unifier, which involved teaching them how to use four M777 howitzers, which Canada launched earlier this year. had donated.

But while those were limited efforts, Thursday’s announcement represented a complete resumption of Operation Unifier, which also involved 225 Canadian instructors.

It also follows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal in June for the first time that his country host a training mission on its soil.

Anand said, “While we halted our military training and capacity building operations in Ukraine under Operation Unifier in early February, I made a commitment to resume these operations whenever and wherever possible “

“Canada is committed to supporting Ukraine’s short, medium and long-term defense needs. That’s why I am announcing today that we are fulfilling our promise to resume large-scale training under Operation Unifier.”

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace welcomed Canada’s decision.

“I am delighted that the Canadian Armed Forces will join the growing international effort to support the training of Ukrainian troops in the UK,” Wallace said in a statement.

“Canadian expertise will further boost the program and ensure that Ukrainian men and women coming to the UK to defend their country will receive a broad pool of experience and skills from both UK forces and our international partners.”

According to Anand, the first 90 Canadian soldiers from CFB Edmonton are due to leave for a military base in the southeast of Britain next week.

There they and other beginners will work with Ukrainian counterparts for a period of four months, teaching them how to use their weapons as well as first aid, basic tactics and military law.

Canada began a mission with Britain and the United States for the first time since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014 and began supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, to help train the Ukrainian military.

The federal government says the mission helped train more than 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers before Russia’s invasion of Canada evacuated all Canadian troops.

In April, Russia cleared all six former commanders of Operation Unifier, which some saw as proof of the mission’s success.

Anand also announced an agreement between the Canadian government and London, Ont.-based General Dynamics Land Systems for the delivery of 39 brand-new armored vehicles to Ukraine’s military in the coming weeks.

“These vehicles will be delivered straight off the assembly line to meet some of Ukraine’s most critical battlefield needs,” he said. “We are also equipping these vehicles with additional state-of-the-art armor and machine-guns.”

Western allies have donated billions of dollars in military weapons and equipment to Ukraine since mid-February, with Canada contributing $662 million in anti-tank and sniper rifles, drones, armored vehicles, artillery and ammunition.

The donation has raised some concerns that military equipment ends up on the black market or is being used for unintentional or illegal purposes.

Although Canada is not part of the ongoing discussions with Ukraine regarding the tracking of such equipment, Anand acknowledged the importance of ensuring that weapons supplied by Canada are used for their intended purpose.

Anand said he had discussed the issue with Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov in January, “convincing that it is an important issue for Canada and the Canadian people.”

Meanwhile, the minister sidestepped a question about the government’s decision to exempt Siemens Energy from sanctions imposed on Russia to allow the return of turbines to Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

Kyiv has previously said the move sets a dangerous precedent by undermining sanctions imposed on Russia, including specific measures against Gazprom in response to Ukraine’s invasion.

Ukraine’s ambassador Yulia Kovaliev was expected to express her country’s dismay when she appeared before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, which is studying the government’s decision.

The turbine is for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline supplying natural gas to Germany.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Jolie, who defended Siemens Energy’s easing of sanctions for turbines, as well as Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson were also due to appear before the House of Commons foreign affairs committee.

On Wednesday, both Jolie and German Foreign Minister Annalena Beerbock stressed that the return of the turbines used in the Russian pipeline was necessary.

The Canadian Armed Forces also announced on Thursday that eight CF-18 fighter jets have arrived in Romania for a four-month deployment in which they will help defend NATO against foreign intrusions into Romanian airspace.

This is the seventh time Canada has sent fighter jets to Romania as part of NATO’s air police mission since 2014.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2022

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