Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission in support of the Security Forces of Ukraine. The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training. This will help them improve as well as build their capability and capacity to repel the Russian invasion. The CAF coordinates its efforts with other partners and allies such as the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US) and other countries that give 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 free, sovereign, secure, and stable.
In the past the training mission harmonized its efforts with other nations through a Multinational Joint Commission that included Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, and the US. Canada became a member in January 2015. At present, Canada is coordinating its UNIFIER training efforts with the UK under the UK-led Op INTERFLEX. Other nations such as New Zealand and The Netherlands have also offered small contributions to the UK.
Since August 2022, CAF personnel have been deployed to the UK to resume their training of Ukrainian recruits in order to assist with the Ukrainian war effort. CAF personnel are expected to assist with the training of approximately 10 000 soldiers.
How many people are deployed?
Canada has deployed a group of about 166 CAF members to the UK, with the option to deploy up to 225 members for this task. Currently, CAF members will be conducting this vital task until October 2022. These trainers come from all parts of Canada, with a majority from the Edmonton area. They are selected based on the skills that they bring to the training program.
What are they doing?
As of August 2022, CAF trainers have resumed delivering training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) recruits in the UK. CAF trainers will take part in the training of approximately 10 000 recruits, in a training area located in the Southeast of the UK.
History and context of the operation
CAF training is one part of Canada’s broader support to Ukraine in:
- humanitarian aid
Since February 2022, Canada has provided Ukraine with more than $500 million in emergency assistance to assist Ukraine in fighting and defeating the Russian invasion of its territory.
Canada’s help to Ukraine has included supplying protective equipment and weapons. This is an ongoing process and includes equipment such as:
- body armour, helmets and night vision gear
- meal packs
- drones and cameras
- commercial and military vehicles
- M72 and Carl Gustaff anti-tank weapons
- M777 artillery pieces
- small arms, anti-tank and artillery ammunition
The equipment is used to fight the Russian invaders and defend the sovereignty of Ukraine.
Between 2014 and 2022, Canada has provided Ukraine with more than $890 million in multifaceted assistance to support Ukraine’s security, prosperity, and reform objectives.
Canada’s help to Ukraine also included supplying non-lethal military equipment. 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
- personal protective and load carriage equipment
- surveillance and detection equipment
This equipment continues to help improve the capabilities of the Security Forces of Ukraine.
Timeline of key events
|August 15, 2022||Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in the UK to resume the training of AFU recruits.|
|March 18, 2022||All members of Operation UNIFIER have returned to Canada until the resumption of training activities can take place.|
|February 12, 2022||Canada pauses training operations in Ukraine and relocates Op UNIFIER members outside of Ukraine.|
|January 26, 2022||The Government of Canada announced that it has extended and expanded Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2025.|
|May 2021||Joint Task Force – Ukraine moved into its new Operation UNIFIER Headquarters located in Kyiv, Ukraine. The mission Headquarters were previously located at the International Peace and Security Center in Yavoriv.|
|September 2020||Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) personnel joined Joint Task Force Ukraine in support of existing training development and capacity building efforts.|
|March 18, 2019||The Government of Canada announced that it has extended Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2022.|
|May 18, 2018||The Department of National Defence/ Canadian Armed Forces signed a Technical Arrangement with the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine.|
|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.|
|March 6, 2017||The Government of Canada announced that it has extended Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2019.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
Between September 2015 and February 2022, 33,789 Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU) candidates have participated in training held in Ukraine. CAF assisted with the provision of 726 course serials spanning all lines of efforts. This number includes members of the National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). During that time, CAF provided training to 1,951 members of the NGU.
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
- Minister Anand Announces Further Military Aid for Ukraine
- Link to External Site / June 15 2022
- Defence Minister Anita Anand announces additional military aid for Ukraine
- Link to External Site / May 24, 2022
- Defence Minister Anand and Chief of the Defence Staff conclude visit to Europe
- Link to External Site / March 9, 2022
- Defence Minister Anand announces additional military support to Ukraine
- Link to External Site / March 1, 2022
- Canada sending additional $25M military aid to support Ukraine
- Link to External Site / February 28, 2022
- Canada will donate over $7 million of lethal weapons and assorted support items to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
- Link to External Site / February 14, 2022
- Canada extends and expands military and other support for the security of Ukraine - Canada.ca
- Link to External Site / February 13, 2022
- 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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