The Canadian government has added Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL), a special register of countries to which Canada can export weapons, the Canadian government’s official website reported on Dec. 13.
As a result, Canadian arms exporters are allowed to seek permits to sell Ukraine certain weapons, devices and other military equipment, according to an explanatory note to the amendment order. The decision revokes a de-facto Canadian arms embargo on Ukraine, which has been in force for the 26 years since the country became independent in 1991.
Ukraine is the 40th country to be put on the list. Before that, it consisted of Canada’s allies in NATO, as well as Australia, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Israel, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Sweden.
“The AFCCL is an additional export control measure that is unique to Canada,” the explanatory note says. “Exports of automatic firearms are prohibited from Canada unless the country of end-use is listed on the AFCCL. For the purposes of the AFCCL, automatic firearms are certain prohibited firearms, prohibited weapons and prohibited devices, and components or parts of such items as defined in the Criminal Code.”
“Examples of these items include fully automatic firearms, electric stun guns, and large-capacity magazines.”
All requests by Canadian businesses that want to sell weapons in Ukraine will be reviewed by the government on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the proposed export is consistent with the country’s foreign and defense policies.
Besides, the Canadian government says, the decision was taken with an eye to an official web-based poll conducted between June 12 and July 11, 2015, among stakeholders in civil society and industry. The majority of responses supported adding Ukraine to the AFCCL.
The inclusion of Ukraine would create new opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and exporters, the explanatory note reads, adding that it is impossible to predict how many permits will be applied for and subsequently issued.
In a Facebook post dated Dec.13, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak welcomed the decision, calling Canada “one of Ukraine’s most important strategic partners”.
The day before, on Dec. 12, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the U.S. defense appropriations bill for the fiscal year 2018, authorizing $350 million in military aid for Ukraine next year.
“Grateful to Washington and Ottawa for the powerful and timely signal of support,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on his official Facebook page following the news. “The door to enhanced defense assistance for Ukraine has been opened.”
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