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15 Feb, 2022 05:59

Canada makes new offer to Ukraine

Ottawa said it would donate machine guns, sniper rifles and more than one million rounds of ammunition
Canada makes new offer to Ukraine

Canada is set to ship millions of dollars in weapons and ammo to Ukraine, in addition to a $500 million loan to bolster the country’s economy, amid repeat predictions of a looming Russian invasion from Western leaders.

The Canadian Department of National Defence announced the arms transfer on Monday, saying the government had authorized additional military assistance “to further help the Ukrainian security forces defend against Russia’s unwanted and escalating aggression.” 

“Canada will donate over $7 million of lethal weapons and assorted support items to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This equipment includes machine guns, pistols, carbines, 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles, and various related equipment,” the department added.

In addition to the weapons shipment, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland said the government would offer a loan of $500 million to Kiev to “support the country’s economic resilience in the face of Russian military aggression.” That comes atop another $120 million announced in January.

In recent months, Western officials and media have repeatedly accused Russia of placing more than 100,000 soldiers near its border with Ukraine, seeing this as a sign of an impending military incursion. Officials in Moscow have repeatedly denied any plans to invade, and even Ukrainian leaders have downplayed the likelihood of an attack, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying that Western forecasts of imminent invasion are “only provoking panic and not helping us.”

“If you or anyone has any additional information about a 100% chance of an invasion, give it to us,” he told reporters on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Washington and its allies have been undeterred, with the US ordering all non-emergency diplomatic staffers to evacuate Ukraine over the weekend due to the alleged threat of an invasion. 

Like Canada, the United States has also authorized a “lethal aid” package for Ukrainian forces, including $200 million in anti-armor weapons, grenade launchers, artillery and small arms in December, while the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Lithuania have sent weapons of their own. 

Small contingents of soldiers from the US, the UK and Canada – acting in a train-and-advise role – have been increasingly active in Ukraine in the past months. However, amid the spike in tensions, both the US and the UK have confirmed the withdrawal of their military personnel last weekend, while Canada also reportedly relocated its advisers to Poland.