Canada to send 200 military trainers to Ukraine
Canada will send 200 military trainers to Ukraine to teach tactics and how to disarm mines, the government announced Tuesday.
Alongside British and US troops, a statement said, the Canadians will help Ukraine "in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security and stability in the face of Russian aggression."
The deployment will start this summer and end on March 31, 2017.
The training is to include explosive ordinance disposal, military police tactics, field medicine, flight safety and logistics.
Canada will also provide individual and unit tactics training to Ukrainian soldiers.
This is to take place at a NATO facility in Yavoriv in western Ukraine close to the Polish border, as well as at the Ukrainian defense ministry's demining centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky in western Ukraine.
The mission comes amid fresh flare-ups of fighting two months after a shaky ceasefire was declared between Ukraine's government and pro-Moscow separatists.
Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a stalwart supporter of Kiev in its fight with the separatists -- a conflict that has cost more than 6,000 lives and raised East-West tensions to their highest level since the end of the Cold War.
Canada has also shipped non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, including a mobile field hospital, night vision goggles, bomb-disposal equipment and tactical communications apparatus.
As well, Ottawa has provided Kiev with more than $500 million in loan guarantees and humanitarian aid, and Canadian fighter jets and warhips have been deployed in eastern Europe.
"It is critically important that the world, particularly NATO allies, send a strong message to Vladimir Putin of deterrence," Defense Minister Jason Kenney told a press conference.
"We stand with the Ukrainian people and their government in maintaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine," he said, adding that Ottawa would never recognize Russia's "annexation of Crimea" or the secession of Ukraine's rebel-held east, which he said "has been effectively occupied by Russia."
© 2015 AFP