Canada to dispatch 200 military instructors to Ukraine
Canada is set to dispatch 200 military instructors to Ukraine to train soldiers in the European country, which is fighting pro-Russia forces in its eastern areas.
The trainers will help Ukraine “in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security and stability” in the crisis-hit country, the Canadian government said in a Tuesday statement.
The Canadian troops are expected to join US and British military trainers in western Ukraine early this summer, and their mission will last until March 31, 2017.
Most of the trainers will be stationed at a NATO training center in Ukraine’s western city of Yavoriv, near the Polish border, and the rest at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s demining center in the western city of Kamyanets-Podilsky.
Following the statement’s release, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the Canadian government’s decision, describing it as “another important step by Canada, aimed at providing efficient support to our state’s independence and territorial integrity.”
“I am convinced that the strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capability would promote not only peace in our country but also global security in the Euro-Atlantic area,” Poroshenko said on Tuesday evening.
The mission comes amid a new surge in clashes between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine despite a truce deal inked between the two sides in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk in February.
Both sides of the conflict have, on numerous occasions, accused each other of violating the truce.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine have been hit by deadly clashes between the pro-Russians and the Ukrainian troops since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush pro-Russia protests there.
Over 6,100 people have died while nearly 15,500 have been injured during the conflict, according to the UN.
The West accuses Moscow of arming and supporting the pro-Russia forces. The Kremlin, however, calls the accusation “groundless.”
Moscow has repeatedly accused the West of fueling unrest in eastern Ukraine. In an interview aired on March 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin charged Washington with organizing what he described as an armed coup in Ukraine.
Referring to the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in February 2014, Putin said: “The trick of the situation was that outwardly the [Ukrainian] opposition was supported mostly by the Europeans. But we knew for sure that the real masterminds were our American friends.”