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Ukraine is still waiting for the surface-to-air missiles promised by Canada a year ago

Evgeniy Maloletka Associated Press President Zelensky is stepping up pressure to make this happen quickly as he speaks with world leaders earlier this year.

Sarah Ritchie – The Canadian Press in Ottawa

4:13 p.m.

  • Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says putting battlefield air defense systems in place is the top priority for the new year, but the system Canada promised there is a year has still not been delivered and we do not know exactly when it will be.

Ottawa announced plans to donate a $406 million surface-to-air missile defense system, known by the acronym NASAMS, on January 10, 2023. Nearly a year later, the one of the two companies involved in the construction of the NASAMS system claims that it does not have a contract regarding the Canadian donation.

The plan is for Canada to pay the full cost to the US government and for the US to directly enter into a foreign military sales agreement with Ukraine.

Such an arrangement allows Canada to avoid seeking additional approval from the U.S. government to send the system to Ukraine, which is necessary whenever U.S. military technology is sold outside the country .

Ukraine says medium-range missile systems are essential to defending its territory against Russian bombing. They are capable of shooting down planes, drones and cruise missiles.

Even though Canada paid for the NASAMS system last March, it is still unclear when exactly it will arrive in Ukraine. It is not even clear whether the Ministry of Defense itself knows when this will happen. A spokeswoman said the department was working with its U.S. partners to determine deadlines.

President Zelensky is ramping up pressure to make this happen quickly as he speaks with world leaders earlier this year.

In a January 4 post on the additional air defense and ammunition. »

This followed a message he posted after a conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on New Year's Eve.

“I am grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau for his willingness to help us protect Ukraine's skies, including by providing additional NASAMS systems and missiles,” Mr. Zelensky wrote.

It is not clear whether Zelensky was referring to the system Canada agreed to pay for last year, or whether the two men were talking about a new donation. The Prime Minister's Office refused to answer questions.

The Department of Defense has not confirmed whether Canada intends to supply more NASAMS systems.

“We remain in close contact with Ukrainian officials regarding Ukraine's most pressing defense needs, and Canada will continue to mount its support and respond to these needs by providing military assistance complete,” wrote Defense Department spokesperson Andrée-Anne Poulin in an emailed response.

Ms. Poulin said the U.S. government had signed a contract with weapons manufacturer Raytheon for the NASAMS system.

Manufactured by Raytheon and Kongsberg

The system is manufactured jointly by the American company Raytheon and the Norwegian company Kongsberg. A Kongsberg spokesperson said in an email last week that the company does not have a contract with the United States relating to the Canadian donation.

“The procurement authority is still processing the Canadian donation,” wrote Ivar Simensen. He did not answer questions about how long production would take once authorized.

The US Department of Defense signed a US$1.2 billion contract with Raytheon for NASAMS systems for Ukraine in November 2022 and the public announcement of this contract indicates that the date Estimated completion date is November 2025.

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to answer whether the system fell under this contract or when it would be delivered, instead referring questions to Canadian officials.

Canada's Department of Defense does not know or will not say when it plans to deliver the system. Raytheon did not respond to questions.

The US State Department had approved a possible sale of foreign military equipment to the Ukrainian government in late May, when it informed Congress of the acquisition, the cost of which it estimated at $285 million.

Since then, neither government has provided a public update on the progress of the donation.

However, the procurement process can take months or even years.

The U.S. Congress reviews foreign military sales and its committees may suspend the sale during this review period.

Although Congress has the power to block a gun sale through legislation, it has never succeeded in doing so. The Congressional Research Service noted that this sometimes affected the timing and composition of some sales and could have dissuaded the president from formally proposing others.

The Joe Biden administration can completely bypass Congress by conducting emergency arms sales, as it has done twice in the past two months to sell weapons and ammunition worth millions of dollars to Israel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a similar emergency declaration to supply munitions to Ukraine in April 2022, but has not done so since.

The Norwegian government announced last month that it plans to donate eight more NASAMS systems from its own stockpiles to Ukraine.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116