Canada to purchase U.S. missile defence system for Ukraine

The Prime Minister's Office has announced that Canada will buy a U.S.-made missile defence system for Ukraine and will welcome U.S. President Joe Biden for a visit in March.

PMO announces President Biden will visit Canada in March

Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden smile and shake hands while seated at chairs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Joe Biden at the InterContinental Presidente Mexico City hotel in Mexico City on Tuesday. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has announced that Canada will buy a U.S.-made missile defence system for Ukraine and will welcome U.S. President Joe Biden for a visit in March.

The news came during the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City on Tuesday, following a meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden.

WATCH | Canada buying advanced air defence system for Ukraine

Canada buying advanced air defence system for Ukraine

11 months ago
Duration 9:31
Featured VideoCanada is set to spend $406M on an advanced air defence system and associated missiles for Ukraine. Defence Minister Anita Anand tells Power & Politics the Canadian government is "working with the United States to get it to Ukraine as soon as possible."

A PMO readout of the meeting said Trudeau informed Biden that Canada will purchase a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) for Ukraine.

The Department of National Defence (DND) confirmed the purchase in a news release later Tuesday.

"Canada's NASAMS donation will help Ukraine strengthen its air defence systems against destructive air attacks on military sites, civilian critical infrastructure and population centres," DND said in the news release.

The release said the donation would cost approximately $406 million and would come from $500 million in aid to Ukraine that Trudeau announced in November 2022. The release did not say when the system is expected to arrive in Ukraine.

In an interview airing Tuesday on CBC's Power & Politics, Defence Minister Anita Anand told guest host Catherine Cullen the government is "working with the United States to get it to Ukraine as soon as possible."

"All options will always be on the table in terms of our support for Ukraine," Anand said.

The missile defence system was designed and developed jointly by the American defence company Raytheon and Norway-based Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

"NASAMS provides air defenders with a tailorable, state-of-the-art defence system that can maximize their ability to identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and emerging cruise missile threats," Raytheon says on an online information page.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked for air defence systems in his requests for military aid.

Zelenskyy thanked Trudeau for the donation in a tweet Tuesday.

"Dear @JustinTrudeau, your true leadership in standing for democracy and human rights has been vividly proven again," Zelenskyy said in the tweet. 

"Thank you for helping us to protect our sky. NASAMS procured for us by Canada will be a strong shield for our cities and citizens."

Anand said she spoke with her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov earlier Tuesday about Ukraine's defence needs.

"I spoke with Ukrainian Defence Minister @OleksiiReznikov this morning and heard it directly: air defence systems are Ukraine's top priority," Anand said in a tweet. 

"That's why Canada is purchasing a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the United States to donate to Ukraine."

Anand said in a followup tweet that this is the first air defence system Canada has purchased for Ukraine.

"In the face of Russia's brutal airstrikes on Ukraine, this air defence system will help to protect Ukrainian population centres and critical infrastructure against drone, missile and aircraft attacks," she said.

In November of last year, the United States government awarded Raytheon a $1.2 billion contract to supply Ukraine with six NASAMS units.

Canada has provided over $3.4 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an intensified invasion of the country in February of 2022.

Alexandra Chyczij, national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), said the UCC welcomes the purchase.

"Assisting Ukraine with the weapons Ukraine requires to defeat Russia is the best investment in the future peace, stability and prosperity of all Europe," Chyczij said in a statement.

"Ukraine needs assistance defending its cities, its hospitals, its schools, its infrastructure from vicious Russian air and missile attacks."

Biden to make first visit to Canada

The readout said Trudeau invited Biden to Canada and that the president will visit in March. It did not give a location or date.

It will be Biden's first official trip to Canada since he became president in January 2021.

A readout from the White House on the meeting confirmed the March visit.

"During the meeting, the President also stated he looks forward to traveling to Canada in March of this year," the readout said.

The PMO readout said Trudeau and Biden discussed trade issues between the two countries, including the Biden administration's "Buy America" policy and the softwood lumber dispute.


Richard Raycraft

Web writer and producer

Richard is a web writer with CBC News and an associate producer with CBC Radio. He's worked at CBC in London, Ont., Toronto, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.