Canada signed a deal outside the auspices of NATO to work with the Ukrainian military on training, including on “personal protective measures” (read: combat) training. The Wall Street Journal reports:
“Canada will continue to play a leading role in the Western response to the situation in Ukraine as well as continue its military training and cooperation,” the government said in an emailed statement.It is unclear how many personnel Canada is thinking of making available or how far it will go in training front line combat troops. […]In November, Canada said it was sending further military gear, including tactical communications systems, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, tactical medical kits and night visual goggles.
Since Russia annexed Crimea, Canada has been at the front of the Western response to Putin’s aggression. Ottawa placed combat-ready fighter jets in Poland back in April, and at the recent G20 meeting in Australia that Putin ended up leaving early, Canadian PM Stephen Harper is said to have bluntly told the Russian President to “get out of Ukraine.”The depth of Canada’s support is no historical accident. Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora population; more than 1.2 million of the country’s roughly 35 million inhabitant identify as ethnically Ukrainian. So, support for Ukraine is vote-getter in Canada, especially out West where most Ukrainian Canadians live.