Breakthrough Canada-Ukraine defense deal could be signed within weeks

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Getting modern lethal military assistance from Western countries has been one of Ukraine’s goals since the start of Russia’s military intervention in Donbas in 2014.

After more than two years of the Ukrainian government lobbying Canada to send lethal arms to Ukraine, it seems, a deal is closer than ever. A potentially mutually beneficial defense industry cooperation arrangement is in the frameworks between Ukraine and Canada. The details are being ironed out and will be presented in the coming months. Roman Washchuk, the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine explained what it’s about.

As Roman Waschuk, Canadian ambassador to Ukraine told UATV, 

“We have negotiated a defence cooperation arrangement. It’s likely to be signed during a bilateral visit in the coming months. That, in turn, opens the door to the control list, and after that it will be up to defense industries, defense industry cooperation to define the right partnerships and for people to make decisions on export and export control.”

Ukraine and Canada have seen a recent boost in defense cooperation after Ottawa announced that it would be extending its military training mission as part of Operation Unifier to Ukraine for two more years. The non-combat mission will see 200 Canadian soldiers train Ukrainian troops.

Now, the development of a framework defense cooperation deal may not be what Kyiv has been lobbying for in terms of direct lethal aid. However, Mr. Waschuk believes it will provide Ukraine with access to a larger scope of military technologies:

“There’s a difference between what people have described as lethal aid, in other words, simply airlifters, some sort of things that go bang. And a more structured approach to defense industries cooperation based on… within an overall defense cooperation framework.”

Mr. Waschuk notes that, as there is no arms embargo on Ukraine and the country is a top-SIPRI weapons developer and exporter for 2016, many countries are interested in helping Ukraine develop its arms potential, Canadians included.

Since the start of Russia’s war in 2014 Canada has provided a broad range of assistance totaling more than 700 million dollars. Ottawa has also contributed more than 16 million dollars in non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

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