The federal government is sending 200 Canadian military personnel to assist Ukrainian soldiers who have struggled to fight against pro-Russia rebels in the eastern areas of the country.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the two-year mission earlier today, which follows up on the Ukraine government’s request to NATO for additional assistance.
“Canada continues to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of the Putin regime’s ongoing aggression,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement. “The Canadian military contribution being announced today will help Ukrainian forces personnel to better defend their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Canadian military personnel will train Ukrainian soldiers in explosive device disposal, military policing, medicine, flight safety and logistics. In addition, individual and unit tactics training will be provided to the Ukrainian National Guard.
Training will begin this summer and primarily take place in Yavoriv in western Ukraine near the Polish border.
To date, the federal government has delivered vast quantities of non-lethal military supplies to the Ukranian government, including 7,000 helmets, 30,000 coats, 30,000 sets of ballistic eyewear, 30,000 pairs of pants, 70,000 pairs of Gore-Tex boots, 2,300 protective vests, 300 first aid kits, 100 tents and 735 sleeping bags.
Ottawa also plans to send 22 Harris high-frequency radios, 238 pairs of night vision goggles, 1,134 tactical medical kits, a mobile field hospital structure, and explosive ordinance disposal equipment.
Over the past several months, a number of Canadian economic sanctions have been placed on Russian entities, corporations and individuals.
“The collective sanctions imposed to date by Canada and its partners are putting real economic pressure on the Putin regime and its collaborators,” reads a release by the Prime Minister’s Office in February 2015.
“The cost to Russia will continue to rise if it persists in its escalation of the conflict and refuses to allow a peaceful resolution.”