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Operation UNIFIER: Canadian Armed Forces support to Canada’s effort in Ukraine

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Operation UNIFIER is Canada’s contribution to support Ukrainian forces through capacity building, in coordination with the United States and other countries providing similar training assistance. Military assistance is one component of Canada’s support to Ukraine, which also includes assistance toward development, security, democracy, and humanitarian aid. Training assistance provided by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) builds on previous support by the Government of Canada and is intended to bolster Ukraine’s efforts to maintain its sovereignty, security and stability.‎

In January 2015, Canada formalized the provision of military assistance to Ukraine by joining the Multinational Joint Commission and agreeing to co-chair, with the United Kingdom, the Joint Commission’s Military Police Subcommittee.

In April 2015, Canada committed to the deployment of approximately 200 CAF personnel to Ukraine until March 31, 2017, to develop and deliver military training and capacity-building programs for Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel. The first group of CAF personnel came from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Garrison Petawawa. The current deployment is composed of troops from the 2nd Canadian Division Québec, including some members of the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group based in Valcartier.

In terms of direct support to Ukraine’s security forces, Canada’s assistance to Ukraine includes the provision of non-lethal military equipment. This includes the ongoing provision of specialized equipment such as tactical communications systems, a mobile field hospital, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, tactical medical kits, and night vision goggles. This type of equipment helps to enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Types of Training provided

The training provided to Ukrainian forces consists of:

  • Small Team Training: individual weapons training; small unit tactics, including improved movement and communication; combat medical response, including first aid and casualty evacuation; survival methods; and, collective training for internal security and defence.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal / Improvised Explosive Device Disposal Training: explosives safety, proper use of equipment; and capability development. 
  • Military Police Training: use-of-force, and basic investigative techniques training.
  • Flight Safety and Language Training: Basic English language and flight safety training, covering all aspects of the CAF flight safety program.
  • Medical Training: Provides casualty evacuation and combat first aid training. The medical training will be combined with the small team training.
  • Logistics System Modernization: coordinating through the Multinational Joint Commission’s Logistics Subcommittee to determine areas where Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF could assist the Ukrainian forces in the modernization process. 

Furthermore, Ukraine is a member of DND’s Military Training and Cooperation Programme (MTCP), an ongoing engagement that will continue to offer a series of opportunities to enhance peace support operations interoperability, military capacity building, and professional development. DND has also provided increased training opportunities for Ukrainian personnel, through the MTCP, in areas such as language training, professional and junior officer development, and information technology.