Canadian Special Forces operators have been deployed to Ukraine amid rising tensions between the NATO military alliance and Russia, Global News has learned.
The deployment of a small contingent from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment comes as diplomatic talks aimed at preventing an armed conflict in Ukraine have faltered, and an estimated 100,000 Russian troops are camping on Ukraine’s border.
Canada urged to avoid non-essential travel to Ukraine, citing ‘Russian aggression’
Sources told Global News that the Canadian special operations presence is part of an effort by NATO allies to deter Russian aggression in Ukraine and identify ways to aid the Ukrainian government.
Sources said the unit has also been tasked with helping develop an evacuation plan for Canadian diplomatic personnel in the event of a full-scale invasion.
When contacted by Global News, neither the government nor the Canadian military would officially confirm the presence of special forces in Ukraine, other than to say that special forces operators have been involved in Canada’s extensive aid to Ukraine.
“The (Canadian Special Operations Forces Command) is part of a wider armed forces effort to support Ukraine’s security forces,” wrote Special Operations Command spokesman Major Amber Bineau in a statement to Global News.
Bineau noted that Canadian Special Forces has been providing training, as well as “trainer and leadership expertise” to Ukrainian counterparts since 2020 – although sources told Global News that the latest Special Forces team, which left for Ukraine around 9 January Happened, not conducting training.
Russia denies US allegations, making excuse to attack Ukraine
Diplomatic talks between the US, European allies and Russia ended last week without a clear way to de-escalate tensions along the Ukraine-Russia border. Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, called the talks a “dead end”.
In a statement on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said NATO and the US were committed to a diplomatic solution and urged Russia to reduce its operations along the Ukraine border. But the US also warned that Russia could look for an excuse to invade Ukraine if diplomatic talks fail, including engaging in “false flag” operations to intensify the conflict.
How COVID could change religion forever in Canada: ‘There’s no going back’
Blizzard warning lifted after major snowfall in southern Ontario
The Kremlin has denied the US allegations.
Russia has demanded a guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the NATO alliance – a demand that has been vehemently rejected by both US and NATO officials.
Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Jolie, left for a week-long visit to Kiev and bilateral meetings on Sunday to reaffirm Ottawa’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
“The accumulation of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine threatens security throughout the region,” Jolie said in a statement.
“These aggressive actions must be stopped. Canada will work with its international partners to uphold the rules-based international order and to uphold the human rights and dignity of Ukrainians.
Russia may face more sanctions amid military build-up near Ukraine, warns Trudeau
Canada has consistently supported Kiev in its dealings with Russia since Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. According to the Canadian government, Ottawa has provided nearly $700 million in aid to Ukraine since January 2014, including the provision and rotation of non-lethal military equipment. 200 Canadian Armed Forces soldiers every six months to train Ukrainian security forces.
Opposition conservatives have urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and liberals to reject Putin’s demands, but instead “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the European allies of Ukraine and Canada.
Aurel Braun, professor of international relations at the University of Toronto, said in an interview on Monday that Canada’s support “makes a difference”, with West central players around the negotiating table playing the U.S.
“It largely depends on what Americans do,” said Brown, who is also associated with Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
Braun said Canada and its allies should continue to support Ukraine – not only from a military point of view, but also economically and diplomatically – because Russia aims to isolate Kiev and present Ukraine as a failed democratic experiment. To do.
“Mr. Putin fears a successful Ukraine, because if a successful democratic state emerges on (Russia’s) borders … said.
Heavy cyber attack on Ukrainian government websites amid tensions with Russia
On Friday, Canada’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Marta Morgan, met with the US deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, to pledge to “continue close coordination to prevent further Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
According to US officials, Morgan also agreed that “further Russian invasion of Ukraine would result in massive consequences and serious costs for the Russian Federation, including coordinated, restrictive economic measures.”
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.