Canada’s new contribution of $375 in military aid for Ukraine is “critical to ensuring the liberation” of Ukraine, according to the primary advocacy group for the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada.

During a surprise visit to Kyiv yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent, announced an additional military package – worth half a billion Canadian dollars – including:

  • extension of Canadian military training of Ukrainian soldiers until 2026;
  • 10,000 additional rounds of 105mm ammunition;
  • 288 AIM-7 air defense missiles;
  • support for a Leopard 2 tank maintenance center in Poland, and;
  • contributions to multinational efforts for training pilots and for maintenance and support for the deployment of F-16s fighter aircraft.

Trudeau also nudged the international community toward NATO membership for Ukraine.

“The military assistance announced today by the Prime Minister is critical to ensuring the liberation of Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian territory from brutal Russian occupation,” Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said.

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“We are pleased that the Government of Canada continues to respond to Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs,” she said. “For peace to return to Europe, Russia – a genocidal, terrorist state – must be defeated.

It is critical that Canada and allies continue to do their part in assisting the heroic Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian people,” Chyczij added.

The Prime Minister, during the visit, said that “in the face of the atrocities of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war, Ukrainians’ strength and bravery is a beacon to the world.”

“Today, Canada committed to further military assistance, sanctions, and humanitarian support for Ukraine. Again, we send out this message – Canada will stand by the people of Ukraine with whatever it takes, for as long as it takes,” he added.

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The EU Parliament’s trade committee gave the green light to a last-minute deal to extend trade liberalisation with Ukraine until 2025, which is key to sustaining the Ukrainian economy.

The Canadian PM and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also signed a joint declaration in which “Canada supports Ukraine to become a NATO member as soon as conditions allow for it” and states that “Ukraine and Canada look forward to addressing these issues at the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023.”

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In terms of NATO membership, the Canada-Ukraine Joint Declaration goes somewhat further than similar agreements recently signed with Italy, Germany and the UK.

While comparable to those agreements signed in May, the new Declaration also commits to Russian war crimes accountability, compensation for Ukraine, and the Zelensky 10 Point Peace Formula.

It was also announced that Canada is seizing an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, previously operated by Russian carrier Volga-Dnepr, and beginning the judicial phase of the forfeiture process, and that Canada will direct $35.7 million toward the needs of those impacted by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam.

During the visit, Trudeau and Freeland visited Saint Michael’s Square to lay a wreath at the Wall of Remembrance of the Fallen for Ukraine.

The Prime Minister also addressed the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the country’s parliament, and visited the Lisova Poliana Veterans Mental Health Rehabilitation Center to meet with soldiers.

According to the Kiel Institute for the Economy’s Ukraine Support Tracker, prior to the new announcements, Canada had made $4.14 billion in total commitments to Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion – which ranks it seventh in the world. In terms of military aid, it had thus far provided $1.4 billion which places it sixth in the world.

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“In fighting for their lives and their sovereignty, the brave people of Ukraine are also fighting Canada’s fight – the fight for democracy,” Freeland said.

“Putin thought that Kyiv would fall in a week and that the world’s democracies would be weak and divided. He was gravely wrong. The historic resistance of the Ukrainian people has inspired the world, and Canada will be by Ukraine’s side until they are victorious,” the Deputy Prime Minister added.

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