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War in Ukraine | Canada confirms sending 200 armored personnel carriers



(OTTAWA) National Defense Minister Anita Anand took advantage of a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday to announce that Canada will send another 200 armored personnel carriers to help the country against Russian invaders.

Yet even though Minister Anand unveiled this latest contribution, the announcement was largely overshadowed by questions about whether Canada and its allies would agree to Ukraine’s request for even heavier equipment: tanks.

Mme Anand revealed the government’s plan to purchase 200 Senator armored personnel carriers for the Ukrainian army, at a press conference in the capital, Kyiv, following a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov.

The Senator tanks were purchased from Roshel, a company in Mississauga, Ontario, at a cost of $90 million. Canada had already sent eight of these armored personnel carriers to Ukraine last spring.

“Senators are security vehicles, and I have heard many times that Ukrainian troops appreciate their maneuverability and adaptability,” Anand, flanked in Kyiv by M. Reznikov.

“Vehicles also enable the safe transport of personnel and equipment and medical evacuations. »

The vehicles represent another Canadian military contribution to Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country in February, sparking the biggest European conflict since World War II.

“Over the past year, Canada has committed to providing Ukraine with comprehensive military assistance totaling well over $1 billion, and over $5 billion in combined economic, humanitarian and military assistance,” said supported Minister Anand on Wednesday.

Need battle tanks

Reznikov was quick to thank Canada for the armored vehicles as well as its other contributions, including a US-made surface-to-air missile system announced last week at a cost of about $406 million each.

Ukraine’s defense minister said such air defense systems are his country’s top priority as Russian missiles continue to rain down on civilian targets.

Mr. Reznikov, however, reiterated the need for battle tanks, describing these heavy weapons as essential to protect the lives of Ukrainian soldiers and to carry out counter-offensives against Russian forces.

“The main difference between the Ukrainian armed forces and the Russian armed forces is that we try to save the lives of our defenders and we don’t use them as cannon fodder, as the Russians do,” he said. in Ukrainian.

“Therefore, for us, it is crucial to equip our armed forces with ‘armored fists’, which will break the positions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation during the counteroffensive and save the lives of our defenders. »

Important meeting on Friday

The allies discussed whether to send tanks to Ukraine. Among them is Germany, which faces pressure not only to send some of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but also to allow other countries that operate the same tanks to do the same.

That would include Canada, which has 112 Leopard 2 tanks, purchased from Germany in 2007, at the height of the war in Afghanistan.

Minister Reznikov said that both Finland and Poland have indicated their intention to send Leopard 2s to Ukraine. He believes Berlin will be persuaded when defense ministers from allied countries meet in Germany on Friday for a US-led meeting on the war in Ukraine.

Minister Anand did not commit to providing Leopard 2s, saying only that Ottawa “will continue to provide Ukraine with the assistance it needs to fight and win this war.”

But earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not rule out sending Leopard 2s to Ukraine, should Germany agree to such a move. “We will consider all requests from Ukraine, but we are not there yet for the Leopard 2,” he said.

The federal government says Canada has provided approximately $5 billion in military, financial and humanitarian aid since Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022. In addition, hundreds of Canadian soldiers are training Ukrainian military personnel in Britain and Poland.

Anita Anand’s visit to Ukraine came as local officials announced the country’s interior minister had died in a helicopter crash near the capital. The accident killed at least 14 other people, including other officials and three children.

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