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Minister Blair announces $60 million in military aid for Ukraine at 19th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, participated in the 19th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting, hosted by United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. The meeting brought together representatives from more than 50 countries, who reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine and continued discussions on coordinating military aid for Ukraine now and into the future.  

At the meeting, Minister Blair announced that Canada will make a new contribution of $60 million to the UDCG Air Force Capability Coalition. This donation will support the setup of a sustainable F-16 fighter aircraft capability in Ukraine. Specifically, the funds will help source vitally needed F-16 supplies and equipment such as spare parts, weapons stations, avionics, and ammunition.

This contribution builds on Canada’s previously-announced support for the F-16 Training Coalition for Ukraine. Last month, Minister Blair announced that Canada will contribute to training efforts by providing civilian instructors, planes, and support staff contracted from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc. This support is valued at approximately $15 million, and will last from February 2024 into 2025. Canada is also providing English language training to Ukrainian Air Force personnel at the Canadian Forces Language School.

Canada’s latest contribution is part of the $500 million in new funding for military assistance for Ukraine announced in Kyiv, Ukraine by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2023.

At last month’s UDCG meeting, Canada announced that it will participate in two UDCG Capability Coalitions, namely the Air Force Capability Coalition and the Armour Capability Coalition.

Canada continues to work with allies and partners to ensure that Ukraine has the military support it needs to defend itself.

“As brave Ukrainian soldiers fight for their country’s freedom and sovereignty, Canadians stand with them. Through the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, more than fifty countries are also working together to provide Ukraine with the tools that it needs to win. Canada is committed to deepening coordination and cooperation with allies and partners as we work together to strengthen our support for Ukraine’s self-defence and protect the rules-based international order.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

ADDITIONAL INFO

• The UDCG was created by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in April 2022 for allies and partners to synchronize donations, consult, and coordinate military assistance to Ukraine, and build the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). Regularly convening at the ministerial level, the UDCG now brings together more than 50 countries.

• Right now, Air Force Capability Coalition Coalition is focused on Ukraine’s F-16 transition, but in the future, will work on transport, rotary wing, and drones as well.

• Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. This includes Leopard 2 main battle tanks, one armoured recovery vehicle, armoured combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, small arms, M777 howitzers and associated ammunition, high-resolution drone cameras, winter clothing, and more. Canada is also contributing to multinational efforts to train pilots and maintain and support Ukraine’s F-16s.

• Since the launch of Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) mission for military training and capacity building in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Canada has trained more than 40,000 members of the AFU. Canada has extended this mission until March 2026, providing significant capacity for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to respond to Ukraine’s urgent training needs.

• More than 300 CAF members are deployed on Operation UNIFIER in various roles, such as the provision and coordination of training, national command support, and the facilitation and delivery of military donations in coordination with Allies and partners.

• Since 2022, Canada has three CC-130J Hercules tactical airlift aircraft, alongside a detachment of approximately 60 CAF personnel, conducting operations from a hub based out of Prestwick, Scotland. The detachment has delivered over fifteen million pounds of aid to Ukraine, from Canada and from our Allies and partners.

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