Canada to send lethal weapons, lend $529 million to Ukraine

Canadian soldiers on an exercise in Latvia on Feb 3, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada is sending lethal military weaponry to Ukraine and lending Kyiv C$500 million (S$529 million) to help defend itself in the face of Russian aggression, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday (Feb 14).

"In the light of the seriousness of the situation and following conversations with our Ukrainian partners, I've approved the provision of C$7.8 million worth of lethal equipment and ammunition," Mr Trudeau told a news conference.

"This responds to Ukraine's specific request, and is in addition to the non-lethal equipment we've already provided," he said, adding that "the intent of this support from Canada and other partners is to deter further Russian aggression".

In addition, the Prime Minister said Ottawa would provide more loans to Ukraine, bringing the total announced since the beginning of the year to C$620 million.

Western allies have prepared what they warn would be a crippling package of economic sanctions in response to any attack, although Moscow has repeatedly said it has no such plans.

Recent Russian military exercises, including with Belarus, where the United States said Moscow had dispatched 30,000 troops for more than a week of drills, have caused rising concern.

Canada, which is home to a large Ukrainian diaspora, has ordered its military trainers out of Ukraine and closed its embassy in Kyiv temporarily.

Some 200 Canadian soldiers have been deployed in Ukraine since 2015 as part of the Unifier military operation, aimed at contributing to the training of Ukrainian forces.

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