Canada to provide $4.65M for Ukrainian Armed Forces

Canadian Armed Forces medics observe Ukrainian soldiers who practice combat first aid skills during a dry-fire exercise near Starychi, Ukraine during Operation UNIFIER on November 29, 2017. Capt. Thomas Edelson, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Marco Levytsky, NP-UN National Affairs Editor.

Canada will provide $4.65 million in funding to support training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF), said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Freeland made the announcement on March 16 as part of her statement on fourth anniversary of illegal annexation of Crimea.

“Today, to help reinforce Ukraine’s resilience, I am announcing $4.65 million to support training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). This funding will provide equipment to support first aid and military police training to the UAF,” she said.

“The funding is to part of the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program and will support the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission with regards to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Ukraine (Operation UNIFIER). This consists of equipment and materiel to support training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in three areas: 1) detection and removal of explosive remnants of war, 2) training of military police, and 3) combat first aid training,” explained Elizabeth Reid, a spokesperson, for Global Affairs Canada in an email to New Pathway – Ukrainian News, March 26.

“Equipment to be provided for military police training includes vehicles for training on reconnaissance and convoy procedures, IT equipment for classrooms and evidence collection kits. Materiel to be provided for first aid training consists of the components of a standard Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK),” she added.

IFAKs, or Individual First Aid Kits are among the biggest life-saving contributions the Canada Ukraine Foundation is providing the UAF, according to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel involved in Operation Unifier.

Among some of the items they contain tourniquets to be applied in a massive hemorrhage and chest shields.

In the statement in which this funding was announced, Freeland also noted that on the fourth anniversary of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, Canada joins with the international community and continues to condemn this violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Since Russia’s occupation of Crimea, we have witnessed severe human rights violations—committed by state agents of Russia— including the suppression of freedom of expression and association, arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions and disappearances. Canada will not recognize the illegitimate extension of Russia’s presidential elections to annexed Ukrainian territory.

Freeland added that Canada will continue to work closely with Crimean Tatar organisations to raise awareness about the situation in Crimea and to denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of an Indigenous people. She called for the release of all political prisoners held by Russia, including Oleg Sentsov, a writer and a filmmaker, who for his outspoken criticism of Russia’s occupation is serving a politically driven sentence of 20 years.

Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer also issued a statement on the fourth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea, noting that “Russia’s continual abuse of human rights in illegally-occupied Crimea is an affront to the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law that Canada has always defended on the world stage. That’s why Canada and its allies have imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime, targeting state-owned banks, defense industry and Russia’s energy sector.”

Scheer added that thousands of Ukrainians, including many Crimean Tatars, have been forced to flee from their homes in Crimea after facing persecution from the Russian authorities for their political views, language and religion.