Canada is to double the size of its current military training mission in Ukraine, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a live conference on Jan. 26, news agency Reuters has reported.
The mission, known as Operation UNIFIER, is the Canadian Armed Forces contribution to building Ukraine’s defensive capabilities by means of training and joint military drills. The mission began after Russia annexed Crimea and occupied parts of the Donbas in 2014.
UNIFIER has already contributed 200 trainers to the Ukrainian armed forces, training over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers, according to Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand.
The number of Canadian military trainers will now be increased to as many as 400, and the UNIFIER mission will be extended by another three years, at a cost of CAD 340 million.
Sixty of the additional Canadian soldiers are to leave for Ukraine within days, said Trudeau. The Canadian PM also added that Canada would send non-lethal equipment to Ukraine and assist with intelligence gathering and countering cyber-attacks.
Since the end of October 2021, Russia has been massing troops close to the Ukrainian border.
Russia has since deployed more than 127,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied parts of the country, according to the latest intelligence estimate by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.