Operation UNIFIER

From: National Defence

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.

Update: 

As a result of COVID-19, a reduced contingent of 60 CAF members was deployed to Ukraine in April 2020. In June 2020, additional CAF personnel deployed to augment the Joint Task Force - UNIFIER contingent to approximately 150 members. Now back to a full strength of 200 CAF members, the Task Force pursues its mission in Ukraine while following strict health and safety protection and prevention measures against COVID-19.

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 February 1st, 2021, more than 22,810 Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU) candidates have participated in the training provided via 475 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 1,377 members of the NGU.

History and context of the operation

CAF training is one part of Canada’s broader support to Ukraine in:

  • development
  • security
  • democracy
  • 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

Date Description
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.
September 2020

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) personnel joined Joint Task Force Ukraine in support of existing training development and capacity building efforts.

Past efforts

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.

External links

International missions

NATO-Ukraine relations (NATO)
U.S. European Command

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