In Digest, Ukraine, Dec. 8, 2014

Canada will send its military police to Ukraine as a part of a security cooperation agreement signed Monday that aims to help the government and security forces to protect the country’s territorial integrity.

Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson and his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak signed a declaration of intent between the two ministries on Monday. It stated that the two countries are “committed to continue working together to strengthen the capacity of the Ukrainian government and its security forces to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its people.”

“Today representatives of Canada’s military police will arrive in Ukraine to look into the possibilities of cooperation,” Nicholson told reporters in Kiev.

The declaration does not represent a legally binding commitment between Canada and Ukraine under international, Canadian or Ukrainian law, said the document.

“We have already achieved important successes in this regard, from years of military training and cooperation offered through Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program, to bilateral financial and equipment contributions, to strengthening multilateral collaboration through the Joint Commission,” the declaration stated.

Following his stop in Kiev, Nicholson will be visiting Poland to meet Polish government officials to further promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the Canadian government’s press release.

In August, Canada donated non-lethal military supplies to Ukraine, including targeted protection, medical and logistical equipment: helmets, ballistic eyewear, protective vests, first aid kits, tents and sleeping bags. Last month it sent cold weather clothing to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The aid is part of Canada’s commitment to support Ukraine with non-lethal military supplies.

In addition, Nicholson announced in late November his government’s decision to send $11 million worth of additional military equipment to Ukraine.

Canada has been one of the harshest critics of the Kremlin’s policies over the Ukrainian crisis. Canada joined its Western allies by supporting the Kiev government and joined the US and EU sanctions imposed on a number of Russian individuals and companies. Canada also deployed Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) units and personnel to Central and Eastern Europe to “reinforce NATO’s collective defense.”

NATO forces have been fuelling tensions between the West and Russia by building up forces in Eastern Europe. Moscow has accused the alliance of undermining national security by bringing in more weapons to the region, to the Russian border, some of them with highly destructive power. The alliance has been regularly conducting drills in Eastern Europe, saying this is needed to build confidence in the respective governments of NATO’s protection.

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See also a report in the Dec. 8 Globe and Mail: Canada to offer Ukraine military aid outside of NATO, by Steven Chase, Dec. 8, 2014
“Canada is operating independently of NATO to provide additional military assistance that will help Ukraine defend itself from Russia.”

There are 166 comments and counting in response to this Globe and Mail article. They are universally hostile and opposed to the government’s decision. One writer asks, “Which side was (Prime Mininster Stephen) Harper’s family on during World War Two?” Another, referring to Canada waging war in Afghanistan, says, “Meanwhile, they nickel and dime our wounded Vets whom they put into harm’s way for questionable reasons… Disgusting!” A third asks, “Harper wishes to precipitate WWIII?”



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