Operation UNIFIER (Ukraine)

Summary

  • Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and support for militants in the East, Canada has been at the forefront of the international community’s support to Ukraine. Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces mission focused on the capacity building [REDACTED] of Ukraine’s security forces.
  • Operation UNIFIER is a key part of Canada’s overall effort to help bolster Ukraine’s security, stability and sovereignty. [REDACTED]

Background

  • Canada launched Operation UNIFIER in September 2015 at the request of the Government of Ukraine and in an effort to help bolster Ukraine’s security, stability and sovereignty.
  • Through this mission, approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are deployed to Ukraine to provide tactical-level training to Ukraine’s security forces. The Canadian Armed Forces currently provide training on combined arms, military engineering, military policing, medical support, and logistics, with an increasing focus on mentoring and large-scale collective training. To date, more than 12,500 Ukrainian security personnel have been trained under Operation UNIFIER.
  • Training does not occur in the East near the conflict zone. Most training takes place in Western Ukraine at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Yavoriv, with mobile training teams delivering training in a dozen other locations throughout the country.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces initially focussed its training efforts on the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are responsible for the national defence of Ukraine. In 2018, Canada signed an agreement with Ukraine to train the National Guard, which is responsible for maintaining domestic peace and security.
  • While Operation UNIFIER is a bilateral mission between Canada and Ukraine, the mission harmonizes its efforts with other nations through a Multinational Joint Commission. This commission includes Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States. Danish and Swedish forces are also embedded with the Canadian Armed Forces and provide training to Ukraine’s security forces.
  • Canada also contributes a senior advisor to Ukraine’s Defence Reform Advisory Board, which was established in 2016 and provides strategic advice on defence reform to Ukraine’s Minister of Defence and other senior officials. The Advisory Board includes Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania, and Poland.
  • In addition to Operation UNIFIER, the Department of National Defence also supports Ukraine through the Military Training and Cooperation Program. Through this program, more than 2,500 Ukrainian personnel have received funded training since 1993, including Ukraine’s new Chief of Defence.

Considerations

  • Operation UNIFIER is a key part of Canada’s overall effort to help bolster Ukraine’s security, stability and sovereignty. It contributes to Canada’s defence policy, Strong Secure Engaged, objective to engage in capacity building to support the security of other nations.
  • Through the mission, Canada plays a leadership role in a strategically important region, supporting a country on the frontlines of the ideological battleground between Russia and the West. In this way, the mission underlines Canada’s commitment to a rules-based international order. Operation UNIFIER also demonstrates Canada’s willingness to share the burden of major international security missions and projects a positive image of Canada abroad.
  • [REDACTED]
  • In addition to Operation UNIFIER, Canada has committed over $785 million in multifaceted assistance to Ukraine since 2014, including low-interest loans, bilateral development assistance, projects in support of peace and stabilization as well as humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the conflict in the East.
  • In February 2019, the mission was extended until 31 March 2022. [REDACTED]
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