Today’s News

Additional military assistance for Ukraine Announced

Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, announced that Canada is donating $3 million to Ukraine to help the country’s domestic defence industry produce drones.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander participate virtually in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group from the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 23, 2023. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders).

Standing with Ukraine

This donation marks the first time Canada is contributing directly to the production of military drones in Ukraine. The donation will be made in collaboration with the United Kingdom.

“Ukrainians have been relentless in their fight for freedom, democracy, and the rules-based international order that keeps us all safe,” stated Blair. “On the two-year anniversary of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Canada reaffirms that it will stand with Ukraine for as long as victory takes.”

Min. Blair announced at the April meeting of the 21st Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), hosted by United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. Held virtually on the second anniversary of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the meeting brought together representatives from more than 50 countries.

Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, and the Chief of the Defence Staff were in Latvia Dec. 15, 2023, where the minister made the announcements. Above image: The Minister of National Defence, speaks to the members of Operation UNIFIER’s UK Training Element in the Southeast of England during a town hall with the troops on September 17, 2023. Photo credit: MCpl Nicolas Alonso, Canadian Armed Forces.

Minister Confirms Additional Czech Initiative Funding

Minister Blair also confirmed that Canada is contributing an additional approximately $13 million to Czechia’s initiative to procure and deliver large-calibre ammunition for Ukraine. This contribution is in addition to last month’s announcement of $40 million and brings Canada’s total contribution to the Czech initiative to over $53 million.

Minister Blair noted that Canada’s donation of drones from Teledyne FLIR in Waterloo, Ontario, announced in February 2024, will grow by an additional 100 drones – bringing Canada’s total contribution of SkyRanger drones to 900. Delivery of these drones will begin in May.

These donations are funded by the $500 million military assistance package PM Trudeau announced in Kyiv on June 12, 2023.

Leopard 2 tanks donated by Canada to Ukraine are being loaded for transport and are overseen by members of the Canadian Armed Forces during Operation UNIFIER in southwest Poland, on April 11, 2023. Photo by: Corporal Marco Tijam, Operation UNIFIER, Canadian Armed Forces photo.

Update on Donations

Minister Blair also provided updates on the delivery of other donations:

  • The first 10 of 50 Armoured Combat Support Vehicles Canada will donate to Ukraine will be delivered to Europe this summer. Ukrainians will be trained on the vehicles in the summer, and they will move to Ukraine in the fall. These vehicles are built by Canadian workers at General Dynamics Land Systems—Canada in London, Ontario.
  • The 10 Multirole Boats from Zodiac Hurricane Technologies committed in January are set to be delivered this July. This includes the provision of commercially contracted training for Ukrainian operators, trailers, and spare parts.
  • As announced earlier this year, Canada has been contributing to Ukraine’s F-16 fighter capability by providing training since February 2024. Canada is providing civilian instructors, planes, and support staff contracted from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc. to support pilot and maintenance personnel training for Ukraine’s incoming F-16 fleet, under the auspices of the Air Force Capability Coalition. In addition, Canada is providing language training to 14 Ukrainian air force members at the Canadian Forces language school in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.

“Canada’s military assistance to Ukraine is a fulfillment of the country’s ongoing commitment to providing Ukrainians with the military aid that they need in their fight against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war,” stated Blair. “As indicated in the Agreement on security cooperation between Canada and Ukraine, Canada will continue to support Ukraine for the long-term.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Celeste A. Wallander, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs host a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, March 26, 2024. Photo By:Chad J. McNeeley, DOD VIRIN:240426-D-TT977-1326.

Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG)

The United States Secretary of Defense created the UDCG in April 2022. The group allows Allies and partners to synchronize donations, consult, and coordinate military assistance to Ukraine, as well as build the capabilities of the Armed Forces Ukraine (AFU). Bringing together more than 50 countries, the UDCG convenes monthly at the ministerial level.

The press release noted Canada is a member of the UDCG’s Armour, Air Force, and Drone coalitions capabilities.

A Canadian instructor gives the “thumbs up” to the Ukrainian soldiers for their motivation and performance during a live fire defensive range in Starychi, Ukraine on June 30, 2016. Photo: Joint Task Force Ukraine. 

Canada’s Contribution

According to the press release, Canada has committed over $4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since February 2022. Along with contributing to multinational efforts to train pilots and maintain and support Ukraine’s F-16s the donations include:

  • Leopard 2 main battle tanks,
  • armoured combat support vehicles,
  • anti-tank weapons,
  • small arms,
  • M777 howitzers and associated ammunition,
  • high-resolution drone cameras,
  • winter clothing, and more.

Since late March 2022, the Canadian Armed Forces has assisted with delivering military aid for Ukraine within Europe from Canada and Allies and partners, having transported over 16 million pounds of military donations to date, the press release noted.

Since the launch of Operation UNIFIER in 2015, Canada has trained over 40,000 members of the AFU. The government recently announced that Canada extended the mission until March 2026. Canadian Armed Forces personnel will continue to respond to Ukraine’s urgent training needs.

Canadian and American combat engineers demonstrate room clearing procedures to Ukrainian soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 28th Mechanized Brigade at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine on February 23, 2017 during Operation UNIFIER. Photo: Sgt. Anthony Jones.

Operation UNIFIER has more than 300 CAF members deployed in various roles:

  • providing and coordinating training,
  • providing national command support and
  • facilitating and delivering military donations to Ukraine in coordination with Allies.

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