Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Toronto Friday. Trudeau said he supported the notion of a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, but stopped short of pledging to take part. Ukraine may soon be able to purchase Canadian weapons however.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Toronto Friday. Trudeau said he supported the notion of a UN peacekeeping mission to Ukraine, but stopped short of pledging to take part. Ukraine may soon be able to purchase Canadian weapons however.
Photo Credit: Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press

Canada moving toward weapons sales to Ukraine: Russian anger

During the working visit to Canada last week of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, trade and security issues were discussed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It was security concerns that have raised the ire of Russian officials who have expressed strong objection to the likely sale of weapons to Ukraine.

Uraine’s Petro Poroshenko (L) and Canadian Justin Trudeau talk trade and security issues
Uraine’s Petro Poroshenko (L) and Canadian Justin Trudeau (R) talk trade and security issueson Friday before attending the opening of the Invictus Games in Toronto © Office of Prime Minister

Canada has long supported Ukraine against Russian territorial incursion and Russian-backed insurgents and currently has some 200 Canadian Forces personnel helping to train Ukrainian forces.

Starting in 2015, the previous Canadian government of Conservative Stephen Harper had begun the long process of adding Ukraine to its list of countries approved for sales of armaments.

Canadian instructors of Joint Task Force - Ukraine provide guidance and safety support to Ukrainian soldiers during section attack practice as part of small team training, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine, on March 3, 2017.
Canadian instructors of Joint Task Force – Ukraine provide guidance and safety support to Ukrainian soldiers during section attack practice as part of small team training, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine, on March 3, 2017. © Joint Task Force – Ukraine

That was stalled with the change of government in 2015, but following last week’s meetings with the Ukrainian leader, Liberal leader and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will be pushing to add Ukraine to the list.

“Canada is unequivocal in its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Canada reiterates its non-recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and continues to condemn Russian military aggression in Donbas. Canada is committed to maintaining pressure on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to implement fully its Minsk commitments, including through ongoing sanctions”. Office of Prime Minister Canada

Trudeau said there is a process and criteria that have to be met, but that Canada is moving forward on the issue of adding Ukraine to Canada’s “Automatic Firearms Country Control List” of 39 countries which are allowed to buy Canadian automatic firearms and other military weaponry and equipment.

A woman speaks on her cell phone amonst the ruins of a building after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Heavy shelling hit both government- and rebel-controlled areas.  Low level fighting continues in some areas of Ukraine, like Donbass, between Urkrainian forces and Russian-backed insurgents
A woman speaks on her cell phone amonst the ruins of a building after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. Heavy shelling hit both government- and rebel-controlled areas. Low level fighting continues in some areas of Ukraine, like Donbass, between Urkrainian forces and Russian-backed insurgents © © Alexander Ermochenko.

Canada has supplied about $16 million dollars in non-lethal equipment such as helmets , winter clothing and bulletproof vests, with promises of several million dollars more of such supplies through to 2019.

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One comment on “Canada moving toward weapons sales to Ukraine: Russian anger
  1. K. Quinn says:

    Canada should be proactive in ending the war in Donbass. rather than providing weapons to enhance the killing. Canada could provide a neutral venue to encourage Poroshenko to meet with his Minsk agreement cosignatories to move the peace process ahead. That process has been ‘stalled’ for more than a year.

    He should be given to understand that Canada will be providing no assistance, of any kind, until he takes his commitments in hand.

    We certainly shouldn’t be entertaining his ‘plan’ for peacekeepers to take back the dissident regions for him, or permit him to execute his “ATO cleansing” under their supervision. .