Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission to support the Security Forces of Ukraine. The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training. This will help them improve and build their capability and capacity. The CAF coordinates its efforts with the U.S. and other countries that support in the same way. Military training is one part of Canada’s overall support to Ukraine.
The CAF launched Operation UNIFIER in response to requests from the Government of Ukraine. The intent is to help Ukraine remain sovereign, secure, and stable.
The training mission harmonizes its efforts with other nations through a Multinational Joint Commission. This commission includes Canada, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Denmark and Sweden. Canada became a member in January 2015. It co-chairs the Sub-Committee on Military Policing with Ukraine.
As announced on March 26, 2020, the number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel joining Operation UNIFIER was reduced due to COVID-19 considerations. In April, approximately 60 of the 200 members planned for this deployment rotated in, while the remaining 140 remained in Canada on high readiness.
Protecting against COVID-19 remains a CAF priority, and every precaution is being taken to ensure the safety of our members, partners, and the local population. Following a reassessment of the situation, including an analysis of force health protection measures and the risk posed by COVID-19, the decision was made to deploy another 90 of these members. These personnel will deploy in June 2020, and observe a 14-day isolation period on arrival in Ukraine. On completion of this isolation period, they will be prepared to resume their mission of supporting the Security Forces of Ukraine.
How many people are deployed?
Canada sends a group of about 200 CAF members to Ukraine every six months. CAF members will be there until the end of March 2022. They come from all parts of Canada. They are selected based on the skills that they bring to the training program.
What are they doing?
As of March 1st, 2020, more than 17,310 Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU) candidates have participated in the training provided via 403 course serials spanning all lines of effort since the start of the mission in September 2015. This number includes members of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). To date, the CAF has provided training to 1,129 members of the NGU
The CAF’s primary focus in Ukraine is to build the Security Forces of Ukraine’s capacities to enable enduring reforms. This includes:
- providing mentorship and guidance to Ukrainian personnel
- supporting the development of individual and collective training
- military engineering and explosive device disposal training
- military police training including use of Force and Basic Investigative Techniques courses
- medical training that provides casualty evacuation and combat first aid training
The training takes place at several locations across western and central Ukraine, including:
- the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre (IPSC) in Starychi
- 201st Engineer Training Centre and the Demining Centre in Kamianets-Podilskyi
- 205th Tactical Medical Training Centre in Desna
- 25th Military Police Training Centre in L’viv
The CAF is also a partner with Ukraine in the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP). This is an ongoing program. It was running before the launch of Operation UNIFIER. It offers training to:
- enable the Armed Forces of Ukraine to work effectively with other countries;
- build military capacity; and
support professional development.
History and context of the operation
CAF training is one part of Canada’s broader support to Ukraine in:
- humanitarian aid
Since January 2014, the Government of Canada has announced more than $700 million in additional help for Ukraine. This funding is for a broad range of projects to:
- strengthen security
- promote economic stability and growth
- advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law
- promote a civil society
Canada’s help to Ukraine includes supplying non-lethal military gear. This is an ongoing process and includes equipment such as:
- communications systems used for field operations
- a mobile field hospital
- explosive disposal equipment
- medical kits used for military field operations
- night vision goggles
The equipment will help improve the Armed Forces of Ukraine's capabilities.
Timeline of key events
|April 14, 2015||The Government of Canada announced that Canada would send about 200 CAF members to Ukraine. The mission would run until March 31, 2017.|
|September 14, 2015||Dual ceremonies were held in Ukraine. They marked the start of the CAF military training mission. One was held in Starychi. The other in Kamyanets-Podilsky.|
|November 23, 2015||Canada, Lithuania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States held a parade. This marked the stand-up of the Joint Multi-National Training Group – Ukraine headquarters. The HQ is in Starychi.|
|March 6, 2017||The Government of Canada announced that it has extended Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2019.|
|March 2017||About 200 Canadian Army members deployed to relieve their counterparts. Both groups (deploying and coming back) were mainly from the 3rd Canadian Division.|
|May 18, 2018||The Department of National Defence/ Canadian Armed Forces signed a Technical Arrangement with the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine.|
|March 18, 2019||The Government of Canada announced that it has extended Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2022.
From November 2014 to November 2015, Canada sent four major shipments of goods to Ukraine. The first shipment included cold weather clothing. It was sent in November 2014, via a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster. In January 2015, there were two shipments of non-lethal military gear sent by sea. In November 2015, the CAF helped the Government of Canada to deliver about $3 million dollars’-worth of equipment for explosives disposal.
Government of Canada
- Operation UNIFIER: Reflections from the 2019 NATO – Ukrainian National Guard Professional Development Program
- Link to External Site / June 19, 2019
- Step-By-Step in Ukraine: A truly memorable visit for Op UNIFIER Personnel
- Link to External Site / June 11, 2019
- Deploying for a Good Cause: Reservists on Op UNIFIER
- Link to External Site / June 9, 2019
- Combat engineers from 5 CER train Ukrainian Armed Forces members in explosive device disposal
- Link to External Site / February, 26, 2019
- Rotation 6 of CAF Assumes Command of Operation UNIFIER
Link to External Site / September 24, 2018
- Ukraine and Operation UNIFIER achieve a key milestone in training
Link to External Site / August 28, 2018
- Operation UNIFIER’s Collective Training Team makes an impact in Ukraine
Link to External Site / July 16, 2018
- Marking UN Mine Awareness Day during Operation UNIFIER
Link to External Site / May 7, 2018
- Feeding, equipping, and moving troops: Logistics on Operation UNIFIER
Link to External Site / March 29, 2018
- The Royal Canadian Dragoons take the reins of Operation UNIFIER
Link to External Site / March 28, 2018
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