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Canada ‘open’ to joining U.S.-led military training mission in Ukraine

Posted in Talking Politics


Published on February 27, 2015 with No Comments

The Harper cabinet is actively and seriously considering whether Canada should join the U.S. and Britain in a military training mission to shore up embattled Ukrainian troops, Defence Minister Jason Kenney .
The notion drew a lukewarm response from opposition parties, who seem reluctant to see Canada venture further into the tinderbox of eastern Europe beyond the delivery of non-lethal military aid and satellite intelligence.
Britain said that it would send 75 military trainers to Ukraine next month to provide instruction and training in military intelligence, logistics and battlefield medical procedures.
• Captive Ukrainian soldiers dig out bodies of comrades
Kenney, who had already dropped broad hints of further Canadian involvement in concert with allies, said Canada is considering a similar commitment, with an emphasis on combat medical evacuation and trauma care.
“That’s the kind of technical training that we can offer,” he said. “We are in discussions and looking at options, and we’re open to — as I’ve been saying for two weeks now — open to participating in training missions.”
The U.S. has committed 800 troops to train three battalions in western Ukraine.
Canada’s defence department has made two deliveries of defensive military gear, including flak vests, helmets and cold-weather clothes. The Harper government recently concluded a deal to provide radar satellite images to the Ukrainians in order to track Russian troop movements in its border region.
Canadians would be uncomfortable going beyond that, suggested NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who insisted such a military training mission should be carried out as part of an alliance and approved by the House of Commons.”If we are going to work towards anything different than what we’re doing now, which is non-kinetic flak jackets … we could send night vision goggles. That’s been agreed to and we’re onboard with that,” he said.


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