Canada announces it will donate 200 armoured vehicles to Ukraine
$90-million donation is part of $500 million in Ukraine military aid Trudeau announced in fall
Canada is donating 200 Canadian-made armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced on Wednesday while visiting Kyiv, Ukraine.
"Today, I am glad to confirm our next package of military aid," Anand said while sitting alongside Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
"The vehicles offer state-of-the-art, best-in-class technology and weapons can easily be mounted on them," she said. "These vehicles also allow for the safe transportation of personnel and equipment."
Anand said the Senator APCs are being purchased from Roshel, a Canadian company based in Mississauga, Ont., at a cost of $90 million.
In May of last year, Canada delivered eight commercial pattern armoured vehicles and Senator APCs purchased from Roshel to Ukraine.
"I have heard repeatedly that Ukrainian troops appreciate their manoeuverability and their adaptability," Anand said.
"They are equipped with smart tech and that helps soldiers to detect threats early. The armour will also help shield troops when they're unable to avoid danger."
Last week, Canada announced it would spend $406 million to purchase a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System from the United States to donate to Ukraine. Wednesday's armoured vehicle announcement combined with the promised air defences make up the $500 million in military aid Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in the fall.
On this difficult day for 🇺🇦, our friends continue to support us. Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinTrudeau?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JustinTrudeau</a> & 🇨🇦 people for another defense aid package announced today in Kyiv by <a href="https://twitter.com/AnitaAnandMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AnitaAnandMP</a>. Today the Ukrainian army needs 200 Senator APCs more than ever. Together we are moving towards victory!—@ZelenskyyUa
Reznikov said the combined military aid package will be crucial in helping defend soldiers and civilians in his war-torn country.
"I would like to express the biggest gratitude to the people of Canada, to the government of Canada and directly Ms. Anand because this package of assistance, which was already proclaimed, it is extremely important for us," Reznikov said Wednesday in Kyiv.
WATCH | Donation of armoured vehicles will 'save lives,' says Ukrainian ambassador:
$1B in military aid
Anand made the announcement after meeting with Reznikov ahead of their attendance at the meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Friday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
At the meeting, countries providing military support to Ukraine will hear directly from Ukrainian officials about the country's long-term military plans and what support it needs to carry them out.
Ukraine has said it needs several hundred NATO-standard heavy tanks to counter invading Russian forces.
Anand would not say if Reznikov asked her specifically during their meeting to send Ukraine Canada's German-made battle tanks. She said the issue would be brought up in meetings at Ramstein Air Base.
Trudeau has not ruled out sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine if Germany drops its objections to the donation of military vehicles that it sold to Canada.
WATCH | Tanks for Ukraine will be discussed at high-level meeting in Germany:
"When I visited Ukraine almost one year ago, I saw a country full of talented, ambitious people who simply want to live in peace and security," Anand said in a separate statement. "Their love of freedom inspired me then, and today, it inspires the whole world."
"During today's productive visit to Kyiv, I met with Ukrainian officials, including my friend and colleague Minister Reznikov, to learn about Ukraine's most pressing security needs, and to reaffirm Canada's steadfast support," she said.
WATCH | Canada pledges 200 armoured personnel carriers for Ukraine:
Since the beginning of 2022, Canada has provided more than $5 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine, including $1 billion in military aid.
Anand's visit to Ukraine came as officials there said the country's interior minister had died in a helicopter crash near the capital that killed at least 14 other people, including other officials and three children.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi oversaw Ukraine's police and emergency services. He is the most senior official to die since Russia invaded nearly 11 months ago.
His death was the second calamity in four days to clobber Ukraine, after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in Dnipro killed dozens of civilians.
WATCH | Senior Ukrainian official dies in helicopter crash:
There was no immediate word on whether Wednesday's crash was an accident or related to the war. No fighting has been reported recently in the Kyiv area.
The apartment building strike and other attacks on civilians have helped stiffen international support for Ukraine as it battles to fend off the Kremlin's invasion. The winter has brought a slowdown in fighting, but military analysts say a new push by both sides is likely once the weather improves.
Canada's latest contribution follows Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's announcement on Tuesday that his country plans to "join" the U.S. and Germany's efforts to train and arm Ukraine with advanced Patriot defence systems.
With files from the Canadian Press