The Canadian government signed an agreement with Kiev that could see Canada training parts of the Ukrainian military, in a move that was struck outside of NATO and broadens Ottawa’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been among the most aggressive in its support of Ukraine and its condemnation of Russia, which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization accuses of supporting separatist rebels.
On Monday, Canada’s Department of National Defence announced that it has signed a ’Declaration of Intent’ that could see it training Ukrainian military police, and providing the country’s armed forces with medical training and in, what it describes as, personal protective measures.
“Canada will continue to play a leading role in the Western response to the situation in Ukraine as well as continue its military training and cooperation,” the government said in an emailed statement.
It is unclear how many personnel Canada is thinking of making available or how far it will go in training front line combat troops.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have sent nonlethal aid to Ukraine, such as ration packs and body armor, while beefing up an armed presence on the country’s border.
In November, Canada said it was sending further military gear, including tactical communications systems, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, tactical medical kits and night visual goggles.
Canada was the first western country to send government ministers to Ukraine when the country’s crisis began earlier this year and Mr. Harper told Russian leader Vladimir Putin to get out of Ukraine when the two met last month at a meeting of the Group of 20 large economies.