Canadian troops heading to UK to train Ukrainian forces

Canadian troops heading to UK to train Ukrainian forces
Minister of Defence Anita Anand speaks during an announcement at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Trenton, Ont., on Monday June 20, 2022.

Canada is sending military trainers to the United Kingdom to help teach Ukrainians how to fight invading Russian forces.

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced the plan on Thursday, saying up to 225 Canadian Armed Forces members will eventually be based in Britain for an initial period of four months.

There they will work alongside counterparts from Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand in training Ukrainian soldiers on the basics of soldiering.

The move comes nearly six months after Canada suspended its previous training mission in Ukraine just weeks before Russian forces invaded the country in February.

The Ukrainian military has since put up a spirited defence of its country, though not without a heavy cost.

The Ukrainian government reported in June that 10,000 of its soldiers had been killed since Russian forces invaded, with thousands more wounded and missing.

Officials have also said that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed every day and hundreds more wounded.

Thursday’s announcement represents a resumption of Canada’s previous training mission in Ukraine, known as Operation Unifier, which also included 225 Canadian trainers.

It follows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson first proposing in June that his country host a new training mission on its soil.

The first 90 Canadian troops from CFB Edmonton are scheduled to leave for a military base in the southeastern part of Britain next week, according to Anand.

There they and others will work with Ukrainian counterparts for an initial four-month period, teaching them how to use their weapons as well as first aid, basic tactics and military law.

Canada first launched a mission, along with Britain and the United States, to help train the Ukrainian military after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and started supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The federal government says that mission helped train more than 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers before all Canadian troops were evacuated ahead of Russia’s invasion.

In April, Russia sanctioned all six former commanders of Operation Unifier, which some saw as proof of the mission’s success.

Anand also announced an agreement between the Canadian government and London, Ont.-based General Dynamics Land Systems for the delivery of armoured vehicles to Ukrainian forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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