KYIV, Ukraine – It will be mid-to-late summer before the Canadian military fields its highly-touted military training mission to Ukraine and the troops are expected to arrive against a backdrop of rising violence in breakaway eastern regions.
They will also hit the ground just as the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares to do electoral battle at home.
The commitment of 200 troops to help strengthen the capacity of the Ukrainian army was announced with much political fanfare in mid-April, yet specifics on how the two-year mission will unfold have yet to be worked out.
A planning team, which is expected to iron out the plans, only arrived recently in the country.
The United States and Britain, meanwhile, have their programs up and running at the Yavoriv training centre, in the far western region along the Polish border.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney said in April the Canadians will be far away from the fighting, which intensified over the weekend in the embattled Donetsk and Mariupol regions.