Canada Decides to Supply Lethal Weapons and Ammunition to Ukraine for the First Time

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Illustrative photo: C8 Carbine Rifle serving Canadain Armed Forces, might be supplied to Ukraine / Photo credit: Government of Canada
Illustrative photo: C8 Carbine Rifle serving Canadain Armed Forces, might be supplied to Ukraine / Photo credit: Government of Canada

Canadian government changed its attitude towards the way of supporting Ukraine amid Russia's "unwanted and escalating" aggression, authorized the provision of lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian Armed Forced

On February 14, the Government of Canada authorized the provision of additional military assistance to the government of Ukraine "to further help the Ukrainian security forces defend against Russia’s unwanted and escalating aggression against Ukraine", announced in the press release by the Department of National Defense of the Canadian government.

In his turne Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the country would provide weapons and more financial support to Ukraine in response to the threat of Russian aggression.

Read more: Canada Sends Non-Lethal Military Aid, Instructors to Further Support Ukraine

Canada will donate over $7 million of lethal weapons and assorted support items to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This equipment includes machine guns, pistols, carbines, 1.5 million rounds of ammunition, sniper rifles, and various related equipment.

The donation adds to the more than $23 million of military equipment – including communications gear, a mobile field hospital, explosive disposal equipment, and body armour – that Canada has already given to Ukraine since 2015. These measures represent a significant and coordinated response from Canada to the developing situation in Ukraine. Canada, along with its allies and partners, remains committed to supporting Ukraine and its people as they continue to defend themselves against Russia’s destabilizing actions - Canada's Department of National Defence claims.

“Canada is deeply concerned by Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine, which presents a significant threat to the rules-based international order. Following conversations with our Ukrainian partners, including during my recent trip to Ukraine, Canada has authorized the provision of defensive weapons to assist Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity," stated Anita Anand, Minister of National Defense of Canada.

"Right things in the right time," Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov comments on the decision on his Twitter page.

As Defense Express estimates, the light-weight C8 5.56 mm assault rifles, which are used by the Canadian Forces, could be one of the possible weapons to be supplied to Ukraine. It is used as a personal weapon. Soldiers can easily disassemble it for inspection and cleaning. The rifle's primary sighting system is the holographic sight which is designed for close combat. The holographic sight is supplemented by an adjustable front and backup sight. The C8 can also be fitted with a bayonet for close combat.

Defense Express, C8 Automatic Rifle, Canada to Supply Ukraine with Letah Weapons for the First Time
C8 Carbines might be delivered to Ukraine along with other lethal weaponry provided by Canada / Photo credit: Government of Canada

The weapons to be supplied to Ukraine, also might include C6 7.62 mm caliber machine guns. The C6 is the Canadian designation of the FN MAG 7.62mm from the Belgian company FN Herstal, produced under license in Canada. It is a fully automatic, air-cooled, gas- and spring-operated machine gun that is generally belt-fed from the left. Restricted to firing in full-automatic mode from the open bolt position, the C6 machine gun can fire from 750 to 1100 rounds per minute.

Defense Express, C6 machine-gun, Canada to Supply Ukraine with Letah Weapons for the First Time
A Canadian Army reservist fires his C6 machine-gun during exercises in 2009 at CFB Suffield, Alberta. PHOTO BY CPL. BILL GOMM / Combat Camera

As reported earlier, the weaponry were planned to be delivered to the Kurds in 2016.

It is possible that Canada-made PGW C14 Timberwolf sniper rifles may also be supplied to Ukraine.

Defense Express, PGW C14 Timberwolf sniper rifle, Canada to Supply Ukraine with Letah Weapons for the First Time
Defense Express, The PGW C14 Timberwolf MRSWS, Canada to Supply Ukraine with Letah Weapons for the First Time
The PGW C14 Timberwolf MRSWS might be supplied to Ukraine among the other lethal weaponry from Canada / Photo credit: Youtube, UATV English

PGW C14 Timberwolf Medium-Range Snipers Weapon System (MRSWS) is used by the Ukrainian Army for training purposes during the UNIFIER mission. Now Ukrainian troops might receive these weapons for actual defense.

The rifle serves Canadian Forces since 2005. It is a standard bolt-action rifle with a caliber of .338LapuaMagnum (8.6x70 mm). The effective firing range is 1,500 m, day and night optics supported. The weight is 7.1 kg, the stock is made of fiberglass to keep the design as light as possible yet strong enough.

Earlier donations from Canada included only non-lethal assistance – including communications gear, a mobile field hospital, explosive disposal equipment, and body armor. Canada hesitated to provide lethal weaponry in accordance with the Canadian policy of de-escalation of the tensions brought up by Russian military activities near the Ukrainian border.

In addition, since the start of Operation UNIFIER, Canadian troops have conducted more than 700 courses, training more than 33,000 Ukrainian military and security personnel in battlefield tactics, maneuver, and other advanced military skills.

Defense Express, Canada to Supply Ukraine with Letah Weapons for the First Time
Operation UNIFIER is the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission to support the Security Forces of Ukraine. The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training

Recently, Canada decided to relocate their Armed Forces "elsewhere in Europe" due to the environment linked to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, according to the announcement by the Canadian government on February 13. The components of Joint Task Force – Ukraine (JTF-U) in the amount of about 260 personnel arrived in Poland, CBC News reports, though the troops' final destination is unclear.

As Defense Express reported earlier, the US also evacuated their military and non-military staff from Ukraine amid the messages of Russia's constant military build-up. Meanwhile, NATO countries expand their supply of weaponry and ammunition. Lithuania decided to supply Stinger missiles, Poland is providing equipment free of charge.

Read more: Ukraine, Canada Defense Ministers Discussed Ukraine's Military Needs and Canada's Promised Aid Package