Skip to main content

Rob Nicholson, Canada's minister of National Defence speaks on the tarmac at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday Aug, 7, 2014.

Lars Hagberg/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada is sending non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine to help the country protect its eastern border against Russian aggression, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Thursday.

Nicholson made the announcement at a military base in Trenton, Ont., where a CC-130J Hercules plane loaded with "non-kinetic military equipment" was set to take off for the first in a series of military transport flights.

"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin's failure to end his support to armed rebel groups constitutes a real threat to international peace and security," Nicholson said. "Canada will not stand by in the face of this threat."

Story continues below advertisement

Helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, first aid kits, tents and sleeping bags are among the supplies being flown to Ukrainian troops. The "logistic equipment" will allow Ukrainian forces to better detect and track the movement of illicit goods and people, Nicholson said.

"Ukraine has asked for this and once again we are delivering," he said. "The Putin regime has not provided any indication they are prepared to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity or use their control over Russian-backed agents to end the violence in Ukraine."

Ukrainian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko said his country was "very grateful" to Canada for its support.

"We will be using this equipment to end war as fast as possible," he said. "We will be able to save more lives, both troops and civilians, and even the separatists themselves."

Canada's contribution was announced just hours after NATO's secretary general told leading officials in Ukraine that the military alliance stood ready to support the country with advisers and assistance.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen stopped short of committing to direct assistance in Ukraine's ongoing conflict, but said NATO would intensify its co-operation with Ukraine on defence planning and reform.

The Canadian announcement also follows fresh sanctions and travel bans from Ottawa against several top Russian and Ukrainian politicians and groups with ties to Putin's government. Moscow responded with a ban on Canadian food imports for a year.

Story continues below advertisement

Canada has about 1.2 million people of Ukrainian descent, and Ottawa's ongoing assistance for Ukraine during the crisis has been seen by many observers as an attempt to bolster domestic electoral support within Canada.

Ihor Kozak of the League of Ukrainian Canadians praised the federal government Thursday for taking what he called a leadership role among Western leaders regarding the conflict.

Violence in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia rebels erupted a month after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March.

Ukraine and Western countries, including Canada, have accused Moscow of backing the separatists with weapons and soldiers, a claim the Russian government has repeatedly denied.

The West has also accused Russia of most likely providing the insurgents with surface-to-air missiles that may have been used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over rebel-held territory on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has frequently said Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and provocative military activity in eastern Ukraine is a "grave concern" to Canada and the world.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter