Canada, Ukraine formalize defense cooperation

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Canada, Ukraine formalize defense cooperation

Ottawa, Apr 4 (AFP) Canada and Ukraine have formalized a defense pact that would see Canada continue to offer military training and share combat expertise.

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met in Ottawa with his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak to sign the defense cooperation agreement yesterday.

Last month, Canada extended its mission providing weapons, tactical and survival training to Ukrainian troops through March 2019.

The joint military training mission with Britain and the United States started in 2015 in response to a more assertive Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine the year before.

“The arrangement will enable us to collaborate closely on issues of mutual security and defence concerns and better support each other,” Sajjan said.

“And coupled with the renewal of (a military training mission) until 2019, this Defense Cooperation Agreement demonstrates just how strongly Canada is committed to the Euro-Atlantic security and our unwavering support for Ukraine.”

Sajjan also said it was a step toward liberalizing arms sales to Ukraine, which are currently restricted. The accord is “a very important step before (we) get to that,” he said.

Canada so far has trained more than 3,200 Ukrainian soldiers, providing individual weapons training, marksmanship, tactical movement, explosive threat recognition, communication, survival in combat and ethics training.

Soldiers were taught combat first aid, and bomb disposal, while military police learned new investigative techniques.

(AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.