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Minister Blair announces new military donations for Ukraine at the 18th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, participated virtually in the 18th 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 commitment to providing Ukraine with the critical military support it needs.

At the meeting, Minister Blair announced a new donation of 10 Multirole Boats from Zodiac Hurricane Technologies, valued at approximately $20 million. These multi-engine Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) will assist Ukraine in various maritime operations including search and rescue, troop and cargo transport, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Each boat will come with a sophisticated sensor, navigation, and communications system. This donation includes the provision of commercially contracted training for Ukrainian operators, as well as trailers and spare parts. The delivery of these boats with training is expected to be completed by late-spring 2024.

The Minister further announced that starting next month, in support of Canada’s membership in the F-16 Training Coalition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), we will provide civilian instructors, planes, and support staff contracted from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc. to contribute to Denmark and France’s training efforts. This support is valued at approximately $15 million. Training will begin in February 2024 and will continue into 2025.

Canada is also providing English language training to Ukrainian Air Force personnel at the Canadian Forces Language School. This work will be an important contribution to the mission to equip and enable the AFU with F-16 fighter jets.

Minister Blair also announced Canada’s participation in two capability coalitions that will report to the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – namely, the armour coalition, and the air force coalition.

Finally, Minister Blair noted that more shipments of previously announced donations arrived for the AFU, including NATO-standard small arms and ammunition, as well as winter clothing and gear. There will be more shipments of these items in the coming weeks.

The donations announced today demonstrate Canada’s ongoing commitments and contributions to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war.

“For almost two years, Canada has remained in close contact with Allies and partners through the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meetings to best understand and help address Ukraine’s urgent and longer-term defence priorities. We continue to strengthen our collaboration and coordination to provide Ukraine with the military aid it needs to defend its sovereignty and security.”

 The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

ADDITIONAL INFO

• The UDCG was created by the US Secretary of Defense in April 2022 to allow Allies and partners to synchronize donations, consult, and coordinate military assistance to Ukraine, and build the capabilities of the AFU. Convening monthly at the ministerial level, the UDCG now brings together more than 50 countries.

• 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, Canada has trained almost 40,000 members of the AFU. Canada will extend this mission until March 2026, providing significant capacity for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to respond to Ukraine’s urgent training needs.

• Canada continues to train AFU members under Operation UNIFIER, with more than 300 CAF members deployed in various roles such as the provision and coordination of training, national command support, and the facilitation and delivery of military donations to Ukraine in coordination with Allies.

• Since late March 2022, the CAF has been assisting with the delivery of military aid for Ukraine within Europe from Canada and on behalf of our Allies and partners, transporting over 15 million pounds of military donations to date.

 

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