Canada ‘actively’ looking at sending drone cameras to Ukraine: Anand

Click to play video: 'Anand says Canada ‘actively examining’ ways to assist Ukraine’s army'
Anand says Canada ‘actively examining’ ways to assist Ukraine’s army
WATCH: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the West needs to go beyond sanctions and weapons to fight Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mercedes Stephenson speaks with Defence Minister Anita Anand about the ways Canada could help, what Ottawa is already promising, and the potential hurdles – Mar 7, 2022

The Canadian government is looking at providing Ukraine with drone cameras to assist Kyiv in its fight against Russia, National Defence Minister Anita Anand has said.

She made the comments Monday in an exclusive interview with Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson in Latvia, where Anand along with Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence staff, is meeting with NATO counterparts to discuss Canada’s response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“We are actively examining ways in which we could assist the Ukrainian army with that equipment,” Anand said when asked if Canada was considering providing more cameras to Ukraine to use on drones.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Residents fortify Lviv against attack, united in defiance'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Residents fortify Lviv against attack, united in defiance

The federal government has not publicly disclosed or promised sending any cameras, but videos circulating online and on social media show Turkish-made drones being used to destroy Russian columns and artillery.

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The precision cameras mounted on the Bayraktar TB2 drones are Canadian-made, a military source has confirmed to Global News.

Military support for Ukraine

Canada along with other NATO allies has promised and already sent Ukraine military aid in the form of lethal and non-lethal weapons.

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Anand announced last week that Ottawa will send up to 4,500 M72 rocket launchers and up to 7,500 hand grenades that will come from the Canadian Armed Forces’ stockpile. This is in addition to previous lethal aid sent to the country.

Canada will also be providing Ukraine with $1 million toward the purchase of high-resolution modern satellite imagery.

Amid weeks of warnings by the West based on its intelligence of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine, Canada sent $10 million in military equipment, including $7.8 million worth of lethal weapons and ammunition to Ukraine last month.

“The anti-tank missiles, the grenades, the rocket launchers, those are all extremely important items that we will supply to Ukrainian armed forces that we helped to train,” said Anand.

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Ahead of the start of the invasion on Feb. 24, the federal government announced it was sending up to 460 additional Canadian Armed Forces members to add to the roughly 500 Canadian personnel already on the ground in Latvia and the surrounding region to bolster NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe.

Click to play video: 'How Russia’s military strategy is shaping how the West reacts'
How Russia’s military strategy is shaping how the West reacts

Military sources tell Global News they are having trouble getting the lethal aid across the border.

So far, Canada has had two successful deliveries of lethal aid to Ukraine, Anand said, and more aid is on the way, she added.

Citing safety and security concerns, Anand did not disclose the precise location of the pledged aid.

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“I have been assured through our sources that our aid will be able to flow,” she said.

Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory, but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

Since the start of conflict last month, more than 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries and the West has imposed harsh sanctions on Russian banks and President Vladimir Putin.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine crisis magnifies importance of Canada’s NATO mission in Latvia'
Ukraine crisis magnifies importance of Canada’s NATO mission in Latvia

On Monday, Russian forces pressed on with their sieges and bombing of Ukrainian cities on the 12th day of the war.

“We will continue to ensure that we are there for Ukraine,” said Anand.

“Our work is not done yet. We will keep doing our very best to help Ukraine maintain its sovereignty and stability in this time of war and unwarranted aggression.”

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— with files from Aaron D’Andrea and Reuters

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