OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Canada is sending military trainers to the United Kingdom to teach Ukrainians how to fight invading Russian forces, Defense Minister Anita Anand said Wednesday.
Up to 225 members of the Canadian Armed Forces will eventually be based in the U.K. for an initial period of four months, said Anand. They will work alongside counterparts from Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand in training Ukrainian troops on the basics of soldiering.
“This is an all hands on deck moment for allies and partners that support Ukraine,” Anand said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
An earlier Canadian military training mission based in Ukraine was suspended only weeks before the invasion began.
That mission, which also included 225 Canadian military trainers, was launched in 2014 after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula and started supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The federal government says the mission, known as Operation Unifier, helped train more than 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers before all Canadian troops were withdrawn ahead of Russia’s attack.
About 90 Canadian soldiers will head to the U.K. on August 12.
“Ukraine desires more troops and weapons,” Anand said. “This will assist with their training of new recruits.”
Canada has contributed more than $600 million Canadian (US466 million) in equipment and weapons.
AP writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.