Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — National Defense Minister Anita Anand is expected to announce that the Canadian Armed Forces will begin training Ukrainian soldiers in a third country.
The move comes nearly six months after Canada suspended its previous training mission in Ukraine, just weeks before Russian forces invaded the country in late February.
The announcement will also follow the return on Sunday of 150 Canadian soldiers who were first deployed to Poland in April to help deal with a flood of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border.
A senior Government of Canada official, who was granted anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public, told The Canadian Press that the new mission will include a significant number of troops and rely on the military aid that Canada has already given to Ukraine.
The mission includes training Ukrainian forces on how to use the four M777 howitzers that Canada donated earlier this year, as well as cyber assistance through the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Canada’s national cryptological organization responsible for maintaining information technology security and collecting foreign signals intelligence.
Canada first launched a mission, along with Britain and the United States, to help train Ukraine’s military after Russia ordered the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and began supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The federal government says the mission, known as Operation Unifier, helped train more than 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers before all Canadian troops were evacuated ahead of the Russian invasion.
As the trainers have returned home, Canada has expanded the size of its military presence in Europe in response to the current war, which is in its sixth month. This includes the 150 soldiers who recently returned from Poland and the reinforcement of a Canadian-led NATO battle group in Latvia.