Minister Anand and Deputy Prime Minister Błaszczak Reaffirm Strength of Canada-Poland Defence Relationship
May 8, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Today, Defence Minister Anita Anand welcomed her Polish counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, to Ottawa for a bilateral meeting.
Minister Anand and Deputy Prime Minister Błaszczak reaffirmed that both countries will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. Both Canada and Poland have been leaders in providing assistance to Ukraine, with Canada having committed over $1 billion in military aid and over $8 billion in combined military, economic, humanitarian, and other aid. Minister Anand commended Poland’s outstanding support to Ukraine, and both Ministers agreed on the importance of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group as a forum for coordinating donations of military aid to Ukraine.
Minister Anand thanked Deputy Prime Minister Błaszczak for Poland’s collaboration with Canada to provide military assistance to Ukraine. Under Operation UNIFIER, Canada currently has approximately 80 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed to Poland, where they are:
- training Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) sappers on a range of basic and advanced engineering skills, engineering reconnaissance, the use of explosives for demolition work, and demining;
- training AFU tank crews on the use of Leopard 2 main battle tanks; and
- training members of the AFU with the skills needed to save lives in combat situations.
These ongoing training efforts build on the CAF’s previous deployment to Poland from April to July 2022, when up to 150 CAF members deployed to Poland and worked in reception centres that coordinated the onward movement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland and across Europe. Minister Anand also noted that the Royal Canadian Air Force has transported over 8 million pounds of Ukraine-bound military aid donated by Canada and its Allies, and commended Poland for its collaboration.
Minister Anand lauded Deputy Prime Minister Błaszczak for Poland’s leadership in hosting a Maintenance and Service Centre in partnership with Germany and Ukraine to sustain the Leopard 2 main battle tanks donated to Ukraine.
The two leaders also highlighted the Canada-Poland Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which they signed on October 11, 2022 during Minister Anand’s visit to Poland. The MOU creates new opportunities for Canadian and Polish military and civilian personnel to learn from one another, train together, and enable cross-industry defence collaboration to modernize military technology.
Minister Anand reaffirmed Canada’s ironclad commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Alliance, and highlighted Canada’s continued efforts to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank – notably by leading the multinational enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Latvia. Minister Anand welcomed the significant defence capabilities that Poland contributes to eFP Battle Group Latvia and NATO’s deterrence and defence posture.
Finally, Minister Anand noted her discussions over the past few months with Polish-Canadian community leaders who have shown remarkable dedication and compassion by contributing their time and resources to support Ukrainian arrivals in Canada. Minister Anand commended the leadership shown by the Polish-Canadian community and by the Polish government to support Ukrainians.
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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