Advertisement

First Canadian troops return from Ukraine, in quarantine at Ontario base

A sign for CFB Trenton is seen on Saturday, September 29, 2012. More than 100 Canadian soldiers have returned home from Ukraine and are in quarantine at an Ontario military base for the next two weeks to ensure they do not have COVID-19.
A sign for CFB Trenton is seen on Saturday, September 29, 2012. More than 100 Canadian soldiers have returned home from Ukraine and are in quarantine at an Ontario military base for the next two weeks to ensure they do not have COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

More than 100 Canadian soldiers have returned home from Ukraine and are in quarantine at an Ontario military base for the next two weeks to ensure they do not have COVID-19.

The troops arrived at Canadian Forces Base Trenton on Tuesday night after spending the past six months in Ukraine, where they had been training local forces to fight Russian-backed separatist forces in the east of the country.

READ MORE: Canadian troops await word on quarantine location upon return from Ukraine

The Department of National Defence says the returning soldiers were required to undergo a medical screening before boarding a Royal Canadian Air Force plane and were all found to be free of COVID-19 symptoms.

National Defence union worried over RMC’s continued operations amid coronavirus pandemic
National Defence union worried over RMC’s continued operations amid coronavirus pandemic

Canada has another 100 troops still in Ukraine who are expected to return by the end of the month and are also expected to be housed at CFB Trenton before returning to their homes and families.

Story continues below advertisement

Most of the returning troops, who are being housed at the same hotel as hundreds of Canadians repatriated from overseas when the COVID-19 pandemic first started, are from Edmonton.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

They will not be allowed any visitors, including family, and will be required to stay in their rooms except to exercise outside, when they will be required to keep apart.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadian troops in Ukraine to return home, be replaced by smaller force

The Defence Department says mental-health services and other support will be made available to the troops during their stay.

Military commanders were initially unsure whether to proceed with a plan to withdraw the troops this month and replace them with another force due to concerns about COVID-19.

A decision was eventually made to proceed with the withdrawal and send a skeleton force of 60 soldiers to hold the fort until the pandemic passes.

Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian troops gather at CFB Borden as part of COVID-19 response
Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian troops gather at CFB Borden as part of COVID-19 response

Chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance has essentially put all Canadian military personnel on a war footing by telling them to stay healthy and be ready to respond.

Story continues below advertisement

Ottawa says it is mobilizing up to 24,000 Canadian troops to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with those returning from Ukraine and elsewhere expected to return to duty following their two-week quarantines.