Canada to ship drone cameras to Ukraine amid war with Russia

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau says ‘highly specialized equipment’ to be sent to Ukraine'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau says ‘highly specialized equipment’ to be sent to Ukraine
WATCH: Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau says 'highly specialized equipment' to be sent to Ukraine – Mar 9, 2022

Canada will send cameras for surveillance drones to Ukraine as part of a $50-million aid package designed to assist the country in its fight against Russia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Wednesday. Trudeau was in the country as part of a cross-Europe trip to discuss the situation in Ukraine with other world leaders.

The cameras for the surveillance drones are part of the $50-million aid package that includes “highly specialized equipment” for Ukrainian forces, Trudeau said.

“We have obtained a number of specialized equipment, including cameras used in drones that a Canadian company makes that we will be able to start sending towards Ukraine in the coming days,” he said.

“There are challenges at borders in terms of getting the equipment securely across and into Ukrainian hands, but we are working through that with partners alongside all allies who are facing the logistical challenges that are real, but not insurmountable.”

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Earlier, a senior source told Global News the cameras will be used on a Bayraktar drone. The precision cameras are Canadian-made.

There is no word on how many cameras will be shipped or when the equipment will arrive in Ukraine.

In addition to military aid, which Canada has promised to continue supplying to Ukraine, Trudeau said Ottawa is renewing the G7 Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), which was created in 2018 to help identify, prevent and respond to threats among G7 democracies. The government said later it is spending $13.4 million over five years to renew and expand RRM.

As part of its renewed commitment, Ottawa is also committing $3 million to tackle Russian disinformation about Ukraine specifically.

“We need to stand up for truth and be vigilant against disinformation that tries to mislead us, and more, tries to divide us,” Trudeau said.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau says Canada is working on ‘logistical challenges’ to get aid into Ukraine'
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Trudeau says Canada is working on ‘logistical challenges’ to get aid into Ukraine

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Canada and its allies have promised to support Ukraine while also committing to punish Moscow and its collaborators for starting a war.

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Canada has levied sanctions against several Russians, including President Vladimir Putin and other government officials. The measures have dealt a blow to the Russian economy, and numerous private industries based in the West have decided to pull their operations out of Russia as well.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for arms shipments in the lead up to the war, and has pushed the West for more action to deter Russia from escalating the conflict that has driven more than two million people from their homes.

Trudeau said on Wednesday he spoke with Zelenskyy earlier in the day, and invited him to address Canada’s Parliament in the near future. Zelenskyy accepted the invitation, Trudeau added.

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Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special 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.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials have said Russia aims to capture Kyiv and topple the government, which Putin regards as a puppet of the United States.

In the weeks leading up to the war, Moscow built up roughly 150,000 troops near the border, and continuously denied western accusations it was planning an invasion of Ukraine.


Click to play video: 'Trudeau vows more aid to Ukraine as Germany eyes Canadian hydrogen'
Trudeau vows more aid to Ukraine as Germany eyes Canadian hydrogen

On Monday, Moscow again announced a series of demands to stop the invasion, including that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize the eastern regions controlled by Moscow-supported separatist fighters as independent.

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It also insisted that Ukraine change its constitution to guarantee it won’t join international bodies like NATO and the EU. Ukraine has already rejected those demands.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau address a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin after talks on March 9. Odd Andersen/Pool via AP

Talks to bring an end to the conflict have yet to produce any breakthroughs.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba are scheduled to meet at a forum in southern Turkey, which could be the first potential talks between the top diplomats since the war began.

— with files from Reuters.

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