Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said that the next step in developing the defense cooperation between Canada and Ukraine will be the opening of the weapons market.
“The Canada-Ukraine relations are unique. The signing of the defense agreement will allow us to have much more detailed and substantive discussions on various topics. Therefore, the next step will be to include Ukraine in the Automatic Firearms Country Control List,” the news agency Ukrinform cites Sajjan as saying. However, the Canadian minister did not say when exactly Ukraine will be able to buy weapons.
He added that the signing of the defense agreement was “a very important step before getting to the Automatic Control List”. This list specifies the countries which Canada allows its internal producers to ship weapons to. There are 35 countries on the list, including Botswana, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Columbia, but not Ukraine.
Previously, on April 3, Ukrainian and Canadian defense ministers Stepan Poltorak and Harjit Sajjan signed a “Defense Cooperation Arrangement between the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Ministry of National Defense of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. According to the head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the Arrangement will facilitate making contacts with representatives of the Canadian defense industry and it will also improve the provision of Ukraine with modern military equipment and weapons.
Stepan Poltorak is currently in Canada on a work visit. He said that during the meetings he will bring up the topic of arms shipments to Ukraine. Poltorak also noted that this matter is part of the plan for Ukraine to join NATO by 2020.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko confirmed that Ukraine is engaging in negotiations about arms shipments for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Our Minister of Defense is currently in Canada. We are finishing off – with the strong support of our diaspora – negotiations about arms shipments to us. We are also continuing joint military exercises with our Canadian partners,” he said.
Experts have already discussed which weapons Ukraine will ask Canada for. Military expert Oleg Zhdanov has spoken in more detail about the Ukraine-Canada Defense Arrangement, which entails aid for Ukraine in a number of areas, including “military training, logistics, developing new kinds of weapons, buying weapons, and military technology cooperation”. In this way, “Canada will completely become our resource manager when it comes to equipping the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), getting them up to NATO standards and becoming independent of Russian weapons,” the expert explained.
According to Zhdanov, “The Yavoriv training ground [located 30 km from Lviv in Western Ukraine] is already a base NATO training ground. One of the things which will take place there is the training of our subdivisions by Canadian specialists on a permanent basis. I don’t consider it impossible that after the creation of a comprehensive military university in Ukraine, its academic staff will partially come from Canada.”