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Canada considers deployment of non-combat units to Ukraine under specific conditions

Friday, 1 March 2024, 13:04
Canada considers deployment of non-combat units to Ukraine under specific conditions

Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence of Canada, has acknowledged the possibility that Canadian instructors may return to Ukraine for training Ukrainian soldiers under certain conditions.

Source: European Pravda, citing Blair in an interview with Toronto Star

Blair spoke about this in the wake of recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron. Earlier, he had ruled out the possibility of deploying combat units in Ukraine.


The security agreement between Canada and Ukraine, signed last weekend, stipulates that Canada may return to conducting training in Ukraine "when conditions allow."

Quote: "It  has to be done in a fairly careful and limited way, the possibility of delivering training," the minister said in an interview with the Toronto Star. 

"I do not want to pit Canadian Armed Forces personnel anywhere near a combat theatre that could create the perception that we are taking on any component of a combat role," he added.

Blair noted that the Canadian military already has a small presence in Ukraine to protect Canadian diplomatic personnel and has trained thousands of Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation Unifier – although this mission was relocated from Ukraine to other countries after Russia launched the full-scale invasion in 2022.

"We’ve been training Ukrainians everywhere, but I think there was some recognition that some of that training is challenging because it's difficult to get people out of Ukraine to do the training," Blair said, referring to discussions that took place in Paris this week. 

"So (there were) some discussions that, could we do it more efficiently and is it possible to do it in Ukraine?" he added.

Blair stated that some countries expressed concerns that such an operation "would potentially be seen as a combat role, and I think there was wide consensus that that’s not appropriate, and we’re not doing that," he said.


  • After European leaders rejected Macron's suggestion regarding the sending of troops to Ukraine earlier this week, French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu explained that the discussions were in line with Blair's description. They were focused on military training or mine-clearance operations, "not on sending troops to wage war against Russia."
  • On 29 February, Macron stated that all his remarks about Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, including the possibility of sending Western troops, which caused a stir, had been carefully considered.

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