Operation UNIFIER

Operation UNIFIER is Canada’s contribution to support Ukrainian forces through capacity building, in coordination with the U.S. and other countries providing similar training assistance. Military assistance is one component of Canada’s support to Ukraine across development, security, democracy, and humanitarian aid.

As part of Canada’s response to requests from the Government of Ukraine, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), with support from Global Affairs Canada, is providing military training and capacity building to Ukraine forces’ personnel to support Ukraine in its efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability.

The training mission occurs under the rubric of the Multinational Joint Commission which includes Ukraine, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Canada joined the Joint Commission in January 2015, and co-chairs, with Ukraine, the Sub-Committee on Military Policing.

As of August 2016, Joint Task Force – Ukraine has trained over 1800 Ukrainian soldiers via 47 course serials spanning all lines of effort.

The Task Force

Canada is deploying approximately 200 CAF personnel to Ukraine until March 31, 2017. CAF members will come from all parts of Canada, depending on the skillset and capability that they bring to the conduct of a particular training program. The current deployment is mostly composed of troops from the 3rd Canadian Division.

CAF members will be deployed on both a sustained and periodic basis depending on the type of training being conducted.

The CAF’s primary focus is on tactical soldier training, also known as small team training, which consists of individual weapons training,  marksmanship, tactical movement, explosive threat recognition, communication, survival in combat, and ethics training.

Other training activities include:

  • explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device disposal training;
  • military police training consisting of Use of Force and Basic Investigative Techniques courses;
  • medical training that provides casualty evacuation and combat first aid training;
  • flight safety and language training;
  • reconnaissance training; and
  • logistics system modernization.

The training began in summer 2015 and is taking place primarily at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre (IPSC) in Starychi. Training is also taking place at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky and other locations in western Ukraine.

Furthermore, the CAF is partnered with Ukraine in the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP), an ongoing engagement that will continue to offer a series of opportunities to enhance peace support operations, interoperability, military capacity building, and professional development.

Mission Context

Military assistance is one component of a broad Canadian support in the fields of development, security, democracy and humanitarian aid.

Since January 2014, the Government of Canada has announced more than $700 million in additional assistance to Ukraine, including a broad range of initiatives to strengthen security, promote economic stability and growth, advance democracy, human rights, rule of law, and to promote a civil society.

Canada’s assistance to Ukraine includes the purchase and shipment of non-lethal military equipment. This includes the ongoing process of procuring and shipping specialized equipment such as tactical communications systems, a mobile field hospital, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, tactical medical kits, and night vision goggles. This type of equipment is helping to enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Canada and Ukraine

  • 28 November 2014 – The first shipment of donated non-lethal military supplies (cold weather clothing including approximately 3 000 pairs of boots 2 400 coats, 3 500 pants and 3 300 pairs of gloves) arrived in Kyiv Boryspil Airport, Ukraine via Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster.
  • 8 December 2014 – Minister of National Defence announced that Canada had signed a Declaration of Intent with Ukraine for joint military training and capacity building.
  • 10 January 2015 – The first of two sealift shipments of non-lethal military supplies arrived in the port of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • 29 January 2015 – The second of two sealift shipments of non-lethal military supplies arrived in the port of Odessa, Ukraine.
  • 28 November 2015 – Task Force Ukraine assisted in the delivery of approximately $3 million dollars’ worth of explosive ordnance disposal equipment to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Mission timeline

  • 14 April 2015 – The Government of Canada announced that Canada will deploy approximately 200 CAF personnel to Ukraine until March 31, 2017.
  • 14 September 2015 – The beginning of the military training mission was marked with dual ceremonies at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, and at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 23 November 2015 – Canada, Ukraine, the United States, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom held a parade to mark the stand-up of the Joint Multi-National Training Group – Ukraine headquarters in Starychi, Ukraine.
  • 17 January 2016 – Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault assumed command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) from Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Guiney.
  • August 2016 – Approximately 200 Canadian Army personnel primarily from the 3rd Canadian Division deployed to relieve their counterparts from the 2nd Canadian Division, Québec.
  • 9 August 2016 – Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne Niven assumed command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine from Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault.
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