Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) military training and capacity building mission in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was launched in 2015 at the request of the Ukrainian government, and in 2023, was extended until March 2026. There are currently over 300 CAF members now deployed under Op UNIFIER training and support roles, as well as aiding in the facilitation of military aid delivery.
Since the start of Op UNIFIER, the CAF has trained over 39,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel in battlefield tactics and advanced military skills. As the mission progressed, much of the direct training undertaken by CAF members transitioned to members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with Canadians acting as advisors and mentors as well as assisting in the development of courses.
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.
Aspects of the mission were temporarily paused following the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with a commitment to resume training when and where conditions permitted.
Training of Ukrainian recruits has since resumed with Canada currently supporting multiple training missions in the UK, Poland, and Latvia that teach both basic and advanced military skills to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These include:
- Recruit Training - Instructing in UK-led efforts to train recruits for the Armed Forces of Ukraine;
- Combat Medic Training - Instructing in Polish-led combat medic training with a focus on combat survivability;
- Sapper Training - Instructing Ukrainian sappers on basic and advanced engineering skills, including demolition and demining; and
- Leadership Training - Jointly delivering Junior Officer Leadership Development training with Latvia in battle responsibilities, planning, manoeuvre coordination, and intelligence reconnaissance.
Canada remains committed to continuing to provide Ukraine with the military equipment and training it needs to defend its sovereignty, freedom, and independence. Canada has also resumed its role in the coordination and planning of training, as well as helping to oversee efforts to supply and equip the Armed Forces of Ukraine, through its critical role as part of the Security Assistance Group – Ukraine (SAG-U).
How many people are deployed?
Over 300 CAF personnel are currently deployed on Op UNIFIER.
Since August 2022, approx. 180 CAF have been deployed to the UK to support the training of Ukrainian recruits.
Since October 2022, Canada has deployed approximately 45 combat engineers to Poland to assist in the training of Ukrainian sappers.
Since March 2023, CAF has deployed approximately 10 medical personnel to Poland to assist in the provision of lifesaving skills to Ukrainian soldiers.
Other personnel are currently stationed in Europe working with Allies on a range of topics including the facilitation of military aid, alignment of future donations, as well coordination for the immediate and longer term training needs of the Ukrainian Forces.
What are they doing?
In the UK, the CAF is working with allies to train Ukrainian recruits in soldiering skills such as weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics, and the Law of Armed Conflict.
In Poland, the CAF is providing training on a range of basic and advanced engineering skills, including engineering reconnaissance, the use of explosives for demolition work, and demining; and teaching advanced tactical medical skills to bolster the Ukrainian military’s ability to save lives.
In Latvia, the CAF is delivering Junior Officer Leadership Development training that will instruct Ukrainian junior officers on responsibilities in battle, the process of planning and orders, manoeuvre coordination, intelligence reconnaissance, and planning and execution.
Timeline of key events
|November 4, 2023||The M777 Maintenance Training Element successfully completed their task to train AFU soldiers in the repair and maintenance of the M777A2 howitzer.|
|October 31, 2023||Operation UNIFIER’s Leopard Training Element (LTE) wrapped up its efforts in the southwest of Poland.|
|August 14, 2023||The M777 maintenance training element in Poland begins. The delivered training will cover maintenance aspects from field maintenance to third-line maintenance on the M777A2 howitzer.|
|May 15, 2023||Members of Operation UNIFIER and the Latvian National Armed Forces begin first Junior Officer leadership development training serial for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.|
|March 7, 2023||Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to support a medical training program for the Armed Forces of Ukraine..|
|February 7, 2023||Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to support an armoured crewmember program for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.|
|October 24, 2022||Members of Operation UNIFIER arrive in Poland to support a sapper training program for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.|
|August 15, 2022||Members of Op UNIFIER resume training of AFU recruits in the UK.|
|March 18, 2022||The majority of Op UNIFIER have 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 the majority of 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 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 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 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 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.
For current donation numbers, please visit: Canadian military support to Ukraine.
- Operation UNIFIER’s Leopard Training Element successfully completes its task
- Link to External Site /November 1, 2023
- Operation UNIFIER provides M777 maintenance training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine - Canada.ca
- Link to External Site /October 16, 2023
- Operation UNIFIER supports Ukraine's military leadership development training in Latvia - Canada.ca
- Link to External Site /September 5, 2023
- Canadian Armed Forces to train Ukrainian junior officers in Latvia
- Link to External Site /May 10, 2023
- Canada deploys medical trainers to Operation UNIFIER and extends engineer training in Poland
- Link to External Site /March 7, 2023
- Defence Minister Anita Anand announces that Canada will supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 battle tanks, training and sustainment
- Link to External Site /January 26, 2023
- Defence Minister Anita Anand visits Poland to strengthen defence cooperation and announces new training for Ukrainian personnel
- Link to External Site / October 11, 2022
- Defence Minister Anita Anand announces deployment of Canadian Armed Forces to train Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom
- Link to External Site / August 4, 2022
- 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 / January 26, 2022
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