Could Canada supply more arms to Ukraine? | War in Ukraine
Ukrainian servicemen fire a shell from an M777 howitzer near a front line, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues in Donetsk region, Ukraine, June 6, 2022.
To maximize its chances of victory over the Russian invader, Ukraine has repeatedly called on its allies for more arms deliveries. Could Canada meet the demand? While experts point out that the Canadian Armed Forces reserves are limited, others are of the opinion that the country should contribute more.
Military aid is not only welcome, it is necessary and it is urgent!, says the ambassador of Ukraine to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv. Despite the advances of Ukrainian troops and considerable territorial gains, the last few months have been difficult at the front. Ammo is limited and runs out quickly.
The war was not entitled to a summer break, adds the Ukrainian ambassador. Since the start of the Russian invasion, Ottawa has provided $626 million in military aid, but its last pledge to send military equipment was on June 30, at the very beginning of summer.
< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_960/v1/ici-info/16x9/yulia-kovaliv-ambassadrice-ukraine.PNG" media="(min-width: 0px) and ( max-width: 99999px)"/>
Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada Yulia Kovaliv stresses the urgency for her country to receive more weapons to fight against the Russian invader.
- June 30, 2022: 39 armored vehicles from tactical support;
- 14 June 2022: 10 replacement tubes for M777 howitzers;
- 24 May 2022: 20,000 standard caliber 155 mm artillery shells (including fuses and gargoyles);
- 22 April 2022: 4 M777 howitzers and projectiles;
- 3 March 2022: 4500 M72 rocket launchers, 750 hand grenades;
- February 28, 2022: 100 anti-tank weapons, Carl Gustav M2 recoilless rifle, 2,000 84 mm projectiles;
- February 14, 2022: machine guns, pistols, carbines, 1.5 million bullets, sniper rifles elite.
Source: Government of Canada
A previous version of this article mentioned that 8mm projectiles were supplied with the Carl Gustav gun. This is what the French version of the federal government press release stated, but it was an error. It was actually about 84 mm projectiles, as the English version of the same press release indicated.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau then announced that Canada was in the process of to conclude negotiations to provide 39 armored tactical support vehicles to the Ukrainians.
However, these vehicles are not armed, contrary to what Ukraine requests. kyiv is mainly asking for light armored vehicles, similar to those that were used by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
kyiv is also calling for other M777 howitzers, which are renowned for their lightness. The Canadian government has already sent 4 out of the 37 owned by the Canadian Armed Forces.
When asked about the subject, the Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, refused to comment. She says talks with Ukrainian leaders are continuing. Our goal is to be there for Ukraine, in the short and long term, she says.
Arms deliveries from the West are necessary for Ukraine to continue its gains against Russia. This is the message hammered home by kyiv, which is asking its allies like Canada to improve their aid. Ottawa opens the door, but experts doubt its ability to provide more military equipment. A report by Kim Vermette.
Many experts testify to the reluctance of some Canadian soldiers to send more equipment to Ukrainian troops. The reserves of the Canadian Armed Forces are limited, they point out.
For twenty years, we have seen a kind of neglect of the Armed Forces and defense capabilities in Canada by various governments, says Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College and Queen's University.
Result: At the start of the Russian invasion last February, Canada did not really have a reserve of equipment – a situation otherwise similar to that experienced by other member countries of the 'North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“All the equipment we provide to the Ukraine is subsequently missing from the Canadian Armed Forces. »
— Christian Leuprecht, Professor of Political Science at Royal Military College, Queen's University
Adds that the demands of the Ukrainians vastly exceed the capacities at our disposal.
Minister Anand says it's not just a matter of reserves. It's not just about the equipment [already in possession] of the Canadian Armed Forces, it's also about supplying the industry. What can the industry do?, she points out.
Canada has launched a mission, with Britain and the United States, to help train Ukraine's military after Russia ordered the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Other experts are more of the opinion that the government should not hesitate to provide more weapons to the Ukrainian troops.
I do not believe that Canada is engaged in a combat more important than the Ukrainian victory against the Russians, launches the professor of political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), Justin Massie. He adds that in this regard, Canada could do more.
He recalls that Canada's political objective is a victory for the Ukrainians against Russia. For the Ukrainians to win the war, they need to continue to receive military aid from the West, from NATO, which Canada has.
“There needs to be consistency between what you say and what you do. This is what is missing in some respects from Canada.
— Justin Massie, Professor of Political Science, UQAM
University of Calgary political scientist Jean-Christophe Boucher shares the same opinion.
The only way out of the crisis is for Ukraine to succeed in protecting its territory, he explains.
Russia shows no will to put an end to the crisis and, in this context, Ukraine must be armed to defend itself.
The political scientist recalls that the decision will be first and foremost political: It's up to the Canadian government to decide what we want to send and it's up to the military to comply.