Operation UNIFIER

Operation (Op) UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) military training, professionalization, and capacity building mission in support of Ukraine. Launched in 2015 at the request of the Ukrainian government following the illegal annexation of Crimea, it was expanded in early 2022 during the Russian pre-invasion military build up, and currently extends by Government of Canada mandate through to 2026.

Since the start of Op UNIFIER, the CAF has trained over 40,000 members of the Security Forces of Ukraine (SFU), over 7,000 of whom have been trained in various locations across Europe following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Training covers a range of basic and advanced military skills, including battlefield tactics, tactical medical training, combat engineering, and leadership skills and education.

Instructor training has also resumed across all major training initiatives, helping to further accelerate the growth and quality of the SFU.

In addition, Op UNIFIER supports the wider CAF effort to deliver Canadian and coalition donations to Ukraine and collects key lessons from the war to help prepare the CAF to address similar threats, if necessary.

The CAF is also working alongside over 20 other nations as part of the U.S.-led Security Assistance Group-Ukraine which coordinates and prioritizes the provision of equipment and training support for the SFU.

How many people are deployed?

Over 300 CAF personnel are currently deployed on Op UNIFIER.

The majority of personnel deployed are in training and support roles, while other personnel are working closely with allies and partner nations to facilitate military aid, align future donations, and coordinate the immediate and long-term training needs of the SFU. 

What are they doing?

The CAF has four primary training lines of effort:

Recruit training

Since August 2022, the CAF, as one of 10 partner nations, has contributed to the British-led multinational effort to train SFU recruits. Deployed to the United Kingdom, CAF personnel deliver training on essential soldiering skills including weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics, and the Law of Armed Conflict.

Engineer training element

Since October 2002, and in partnership with the Polish Armed Forces, the CAF has provided training on a range of basic and advanced combat engineering skills. This includes instruction on locating, identifying, and neutralizing enemy explosives, as well as breaching enemy obstacles to enable the movement of friendly forces.

Combat medic training

Since March 2023, CAF members have participated in the Polish-led medical training program for the SFU, focusing on advanced tactical medical skills and combat survivability that has saved Ukrainian lives on the battlefield.

Junior officer leadership development training

Since May 2023, a joint CAF and Latvian National Armed Forces program has been training SFU combat leaders. This training instructs Ukrainian junior officers on battlefield responsibilities, planning and orders processes, maneuver coordination, intelligence and reconnaissance, and planning and execution.

Other training efforts

The Canadian Armed Forces has and continues to support other training efforts. The CAF remains ready to continue this line of effort if requested by Ukraine in the future.

Past training efforts included periodic training on the use and maintenance of the M777 Howitzer. The CAF also provided Leopard 2 Tank Crew training in Poland. The last requested serial of training completed in late 2023.

Timeline of key events

Date Description
October 31, 2023 Operation UNIFIER’s Leopard Training Element (LTE) completed its last requested training serial in Poland.
May 15, 2023 Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Latvia to begin the Junior Officer Leadership Development training program for the Security Forces of Ukraine, alongside the Latvian Armed Forces.
March 7, 2023 Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to begin the combat medic training program for the Security Forces of Ukraine.
February 7, 2023 Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to begin the Leopard training program for the Security Forces of Ukraine.
October 24, 2022 Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to support engineering training program for the Security Forces of Ukraine.
August 15, 2022 Large-scale training resumes with members of Op UNIFIER providing recruit training for Security Forces of Ukraine in the UK.
March 18, 2022 The majority of Op UNIFIER personnel returned to Canada until the resumption of training activities can take place.
February 12, 2022 Canada pauses aspects of training operations in Ukraine and relocates personnel on Op UNIFIER outside of Ukraine.
January 26, 2022 The Government of Canada announced that it has extended and expanded Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2026.
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 began to take part in 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 to sustain non-lethal military aid.
March 6, 2017 The Government of Canada announced that it had extended Operation UNIFIER until the end of March 2019.
November 23, 2015 Canada, Lithuania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States marked the stand-up of the Joint Multi-National Training Group – Ukraine headquarters in Starychi.
September 14, 2015 Dual ceremonies in Starychi and Kamyanets-Podilsky marked the start of the CAF military training mission.
April 14, 2015 The Government of Canada announced that Canada would send approximately 200 CAF members to Ukraine in support of training and capacity building. The mission was announced with an end-date of March 31, 2017.

Past efforts

Between September 2015 and February 2022, approximately 33,000 SFU candidates 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 Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) and National Guard of Ukraine (NGU). During that time, CAF provided training to approximately 2,000 members of the NGU.

From 2019-2022, members of Op UNIFIER also played a leading role in the Multinational Coordination Cell (MCC), which facilitated coordination with the training missions of partner nations in Ukraine. This included planning training priorities among multinational partners such as Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Canada was the first nation to provide full time staff to the MCC.

Other canadian military support to Ukraine

Canada has also committed over $4 billion in military assistance donations to Ukraine, and the CAF continue to transport aid as well as train Ukrainian counterparts under Op UNIFIER. For current donation numbers and further information on Canadian commitments to Ukraine, please visit: Canadian military support to Ukraine.

External links

International missions

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


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