Canada announced Friday that it is in the process of finalizing contracts for a number of commercial pattern armoured vehicles that will be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible.
In a statement, the federal government said it’s also finalizing a service contract for the maintenance and repair of specialized drone cameras that Canada has already shipped to Ukraine.
On Friday, Canada sent M777 howitzers and ammunition to Ukraine, fulfilling its pledge to send heavy artillery to the embattled country.
According to the government, the M777 lightweight 155-mm towed howitzer is lighter and smaller, yet more powerful than any gun of its kind. The M777 provides indirect firepower capable of accurately hitting targets at a range of up to 30km.
The decision has been lauded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC).
In a statement Friday, Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress said, “The UCC welcomes the provision of additional lethal aid to Ukraine by Canada.”
“The horrors Russia is inflicting, the deliberate, systemic crimes against humanity that Russia is committing – at Mariupol, Bucha, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and countless other places – show that Russia is committing genocide and trying to annihilate the Ukrainian people,” she added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday said allies were finally delivering the weapons that Kyiv had asked for, adding the arms would help save the lives of thousands of people.
Since January 2022, Canada has committed over $118 million in military equipment to support Ukraine. In Budget 2022, Canada also allocated $500 million in additional military aid for Ukraine for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
However, earlier on Friday, Fiance Minister Chrystia Freeland didn’t provide more details of how the $500 million pledged in her April 7 budget would be spent.
In response to Ukraine’s request for more heavy weapons, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that an additional US$800 million in military aid to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion, and he warned that Congress will need to approve additional assistance.
The new military package includes much needed heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and drones for Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It builds on roughly US$2.6 billion in military assistance that Biden had previously approved.
“We are grateful that Canada and allies continue to provide the weapons and materiel the courageous Ukrainian Armed Forces need to defeat Russia,” said Chyczij.
-With files from The Canadian Press