Canada to send money, radar satellite images to Ukraine

The Canadian government will be sending financial aid plus radar satellite images to Ukraine, Defence Minister Jason Kenney tells CBC Radio's The House.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked for reconnaissance and intelligence help in September

Russian-backed separatists wait for their transport, preparing to leave towards the frontline, in the village of Vergulivka, just outside Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Canada is preparing more support for Ukraine. (AP Photo/Maximilian Clarke)

The Canadian government will be sending financial aid plus radar satellite images to Ukraine to support their fight against Russian-backed separatists, according to Defence Minister Jason Kenney.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, Kenney told host Evan Solomon that Canada is preparing a new financial package for Ukraine.

"I can't give you a precise date but when Prime Minister Harper visited Ukraine… (he) confirmed Canada would provide financial assistance," Kenney said in the interview. "We are hoping to continue to do so." 

Canada's new defence minister also said radar satellite images will be shared with the Ukrainian military.

"We will begin providing radar satellite images to Ukraine, which was the single biggest ask of Ukrainian President Poroshenko when he was in Ottawa in September," Kenney said.

"It will be enormously helpful for Ukrainians in tracking Russian troop movements inside their territory."

Lethal aid being discussed

Canada has already sent around $66 million in night-vision goggles, cold weather gear and other non-lethal aid to Ukraine since the conflict broke out.

Defence Minister Jason Kenney also told the CBC's Evan Solomon earlier this week that while nothing has been decided, Canada is 'open' to helping train Ukrainian troops. (CBC)

Kenney said the idea of sending lethal aid is being talked about, including when German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Harper in Ottawa this week.

"We don't have huge stockpiles of equipment to supply, if we were to get into that kind of business it would be by acquiring it from other vendors and then supplying it to Ukrainians," Kenney said.

"We're not going to do anything in that regard without a consensus amongst our allies, Canada will not act alone in that regard." 

Following more than 5,000 deaths over the length of the conflict, a ceasefire brokered by Germany and France is set to come into effect on Sunday.

Kenney said Canada is "pretty skeptical" of the ceasefire's success given Russian President Vladimir Putin's "unbroken record of violating the two previous ceasefire agreements and interfering in the most outrageous ways in Ukraine."

You can hear more of Kenney's interview on Ukraine, Iraq and the upcoming federal budget on The House, airing 9 a.m. (9:30 a.m. NT) Saturday on CBC Radio and online.


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