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Minister of Defence, Bill Blair, Participates in Ukraine Defense Contact Group Meeting in Germany

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, participated in the 15th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The meeting, hosted by United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, brought together representatives from approximately 50 countries to discuss the provision of military aid to Ukraine. Minister Blair was joined by a Canadian delegation including General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff.

Minister Blair highlighted that Canada will contribute $33 million (CAD) to the United Kingdom-led partnership that is delivering high priority air defence equipment to Ukraine. This initiative provides short- and medium-range air defence missiles and associated systems to Ukraine, so that it can defend itself from Russian air strikes. The Minister further highlighted that since February 2022, Canada has committed over $1.8 billion in military aid, including armoured combat support vehicles, Leopard 2 main battle tanks, M777 howitzers and associated ammunition, small arms, demining equipment, high-resolution cameras, and an air defence system. Canada will also contribute to multinational efforts to train pilots and maintain and support Ukraine’s F-16s.

At Ramstein Air Base, Minister Blair met with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher G. Cavoli. Minister Blair reaffirmed Canada’s ironclad commitment to NATO and discussed Canada’s current and future participation in NATO Operations. Minister Blair also met with Latvia’s new Minister of Defence, Andris Sprūds to congratulate him on his recent appointment and reaffirmed Canada’s steadfast commitment to the security of Latvia, where Canada leads a multinational NATO battle group.

Minister Blair spoke with Sweden’s Defence Minister Pål Jonson and noted Canada’s support for Sweden’s membership in NATO. Minister Blair also spoke with Denmark’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, with whom he looks forward to working.

Minister Blair concluded his trip by visiting the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Air Mobility Detachment in Prestwick, Scotland, with General Eyre. The Detachment operates three CC-130 Hercules aircraft which have delivered over 12 million pounds of Ukraine-bound military aid donated by Canada, allies and partners. Minister Blair thanked the RCAF personnel in Scotland for their tireless efforts.

Canada will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine by providing the Armed Forces of Ukraine with comprehensive military assistance.

“Canada is working with its allies and partners to respond as quickly as possible to Ukraine’s defence needs. Russia’s war on Ukraine is also an attack on the international rules that keep all of us safe – and we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. As Ukrainians fight bravely against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion, Canada will continue to do its part by providing Ukraine with comprehensive military aid.” – The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

 

ADDITIONAL INFO

• The UDCG was created by the United States 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 Armed Forces of Ukraine. Convening monthly at the ministerial level, the UDCG now brings together more than 50 countries.

• Under Operation UNIFIER, Canada has trained more than 38,000 members of the AFU since 2015. Canada will extend this mission until March 2026, providing significant capacity for the 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 12 million pounds of military donations to date.

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