Defence Minister Anand concludes visit to Ukraine
January 31, 2022 – Kyiv, Ukraine – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand concluded a trip to Ukraine – the first of three destinations on her first official foreign trip as Minister of National Defence. Over the course of her two-day visit, she re-affirmed Canada’s strong commitment to Ukraine, and met with several of her Ukrainian counterparts and members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed on Operation UNIFIER.
Minister Anand and Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov held their first in-person bilateral meeting, which follows three previous meetings held in recent months.
The ministers discussed the recently announced extension and expansion of Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) military training and capacity-building mission in Ukraine. Minister Anand reiterated that Canada remains steadfast in its support of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russian aggression and intimidation, and is committed to finding peaceful ways to advance democracy and stability. Minister Reznikov expressed deep appreciation for Canada’s continued military and diplomatic efforts in support to Ukraine.
While in Kyiv, Minister Anand also spoke with the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrsky. They discussed the ongoing security challenges facing Ukrainians, and Canada’s commitment to helping Ukraine strengthen its ability to defend itself against a range of threats. They further underscored the importance of collective security in preserving global peace and security, and the rules-based international order.
The minister also had the opportunity to meet with members of the CAF deployed on Operation UNIFIER, and personally thanked them for their significant contributions in support of the security forces of Ukraine. She emphasized the important role the CAF’s work plays in helping to enhance these forces as a whole.
Minister Anand will next be traveling to Brussels to meet the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg. While there, the minister intends to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to transatlantic security and emphasize the importance of strengthening cooperation with our European allies and partners to build a safer and more secure world. Afterwards, the Minister will travel to Latvia to meet with her counterparts and CAF personnel deployed on Operation REASSURANCE, and reaffirm Canada’s commitment to the security and stability of Central and Eastern Europe.
“Canada’s support for Ukraine is unwavering. That is why I visited Ukraine to meet with Minister Oleksii Reznikov and with Canadian soldiers deployed on Operation UNIFIER. We must remain closely engaged with our allies and partners to strengthen our collaboration and coordinate our responses. Canada will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”
- The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
Since 2014, Canada has provided Ukraine with more than $890 million in multifaceted assistance to support Ukraine’s security, prosperity, and reform objectives. In the long-term, reforms are the most effective strategy for building Ukraine’s resilience to Russian aggression.
Through Canada’s Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, Canada is currently supporting over $16 million in ongoing multi-year programming focused on security sector and defence reform in Ukraine, including a strong focus on advancing Ukraine’s Women Peace and Security National Action Plan.
Operation UNIFIER harmonizes its efforts with other nations through a Multinational Joint Commission. This commission includes Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The recent extension and expansion of Canada’s military presence in support of Ukraine will ensure that members of the CAF will continue to provide enhanced military training and mentorship to Ukraine’s security forces through to the end of March 2025.
The expanded training mission will include a deployment of 60 additional troops in the coming days, depending on need, building to a rotational deployment that can surge up to 400 CAF personnel.
The extension and expansion in scope of Operation UNIFIER will complement and be delivered in a coordinated effort alongside the diplomatic efforts of Global Affairs Canada to deter and de-escalate Russia’s ongoing aggressive and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine.
Since 2015, Canadian troops have conducted more than 600 courses, training nearly 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel in a range of tactical and advanced military skills.
Due to the training provided by the CAF through Op UNIFIER since 2015, Ukrainian security forces are now delivering much of this training themselves, with Canadians acting as advisors and mentors.
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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