In the News
No to War in Ukraine! No to Use of Force!
Canada Extends and Enhances Military Assistance to Ukraine
On January 26 the Trudeau government announced that Canada’s training and mentoring of Ukraine’s military and security forces under Operation UNIFIER would be extended for three more years to the end of March 2025. The number of troops deployed will increase from 200 to 260 right away, with the possibility of rising to as high as 400, “depending on need.”
Canada claims it stands for a peaceful resolution of the “Ukraine crisis” but its definition of what constitutes a peaceful resolution is inane and self-serving to the extreme. The entire thing is done in the name of defending Ukraine against an attack from Russia but has Russia ever attacked Ukraine? No. On the contrary, while the United States with whom Canada is marching in lockstep, has 800 military bases abroad, Russia has one — in Syria at the behest of the government of Syria. Canada is marching in lockstep with the U.S. in pushing for NATO’s expansion eastward, imposing its bases and dictate in the countries which border Russia. It gives all kinds of justifications to train and arm battalions which honour Nazi collaborators and to integrate them into the armed forces of Ukraine as well as use them to carry out insurgencies and despicable crimes against Russian speaking peoples in the historical Donbass region of Ukraine.
The Canadian Armed Forces will also work with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) “on measures to support enhanced intelligence cooperation and cyber security and cyber operations.” Non-lethal military equipment including body armour, metal detectors, thermal binoculars, laser range finders, tactical medical bags and surveillance technology will be provided to the Ukrainian military as well. So far there has been no response to the Ukrainian government’s request for Canada to send weapons. But shortly before departing on January 30 for two days of talks with government officials in Ukraine, Defence Minister Anita Anand said all options remain on the table – as the U.S. likes to put it.
Also included in the announcement was the formation of “an action team based out of Global Affairs Canada to support further coordination of federal departments’ efforts in support of peace and security in Ukraine.” The projected cost of this package of enhanced military and security assistance is $340 million. An additional $50 million will be provided in what has been called humanitarian and development aid.
Andrii Bukvych, Ukraine’s charge d’affaires to Canada, called the announcement “timely” and said it demonstrated Canada’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and security.
Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Alex Stepanov, called Canada’s extension and expansion of its military mission “unfortunate,” saying it would do nothing to resolve the crisis. He told Radio Canada:
“My country’s position is that we regret the decision of the Canadian government to extend its armed forces presence in Ukraine and to supply that country more military equipment. I believe that pumping up Kyiv [with] material and military expertise doesn’t really help the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Donbass.” He said the assistance only “emboldens the Ukrainian government” and “fuels the war.”
The NDP applauded the extension of Operation UNIFIER, hoping it would help the Ukrainian military “to become more democratic and accountable with full respect for international law and human rights.”
The Conservative Party was unhappy lethal weapons were not part of the package. They also want Canada to immediately restore RADARSAT satellite imaging to the Ukrainian military and to use Magnitsky sanctions against those “responsible for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which has long pushed for Canada to supply lethal weaponry to Ukraine expressed disappointment that Canada had not yet joined its allies in sending arms.
(TML Daily, posted January 31, 2022)