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.

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. In large part, the first group of CAF personnel came from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Garrison Petawawa. The current deployment is composed of troops from the 2nd Canadian Division Québec.

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 will be on tactical soldier training, also known as small team training, which consists of individual weapons training, marksmanship, moving, communication, survival, and ethics training.

Other training activities will include:

  • explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD) 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 and mechanized operations 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. The language and flight safety training is currently taking place in Canada.

Furthermore, the CAF are 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.

Mission timeline

  • 14 April 2015 – The Government of Canada announced that Canada will deploy approximately 200 CAF personnel to Ukraine until March 31, 2017.
  • 13 June 2015 – Approximately 8 personnel in the field of EOD and IEDD departed for Ukraine to liaise with Ukrainian military partners, observe training, and prepare training plans. They were augmented in late August by approximately 12 combat engineers.
  • 20 June to 4 July – A team of approximately 30 CAF personnel in the field of tactical soldier training observed U.S. instructions to Ukrainian forces and further refined the CAF training plans.
  • 5 August to early Sept – A theatre activation team of approximately 90 personnel deployed to Ukraine to set up the CAF facilities and support structure necessary to the deployment of the Task Force.
  • 25 August – Approximately 60 personnel from the main task force – including Headquarters (HQ), Small Team Training unit and support personnel – arrived in Ukraine.
  • 31 August – A second group of approximately 90 CAF personnel, to complete the deployment of approximately 150 CAF personnel as the main Task Force, arrived in Ukraine.
  • 14 September – 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.
  • 14 September – The Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) training portion began at the Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 19 September – The first class of Ukrainian military personnel trained by the CAF graduated from C-IED training at the Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 5 October 2015 – Military Police training starts second serial of training near Kyiv, Ukraine teaching use of force and basic Investigation techniques.
  • 29 October 2015 – Military Police graduates Ukrainian candidates after a month of training near Kyiv.
  • 2-21 November 2015 – Canadian engineers deliver basic counter-improvised explosive device training course at the National Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 23 November 2015 – Canada, Ukraine, the United States, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom hold a parade to mark the stand-up of the Joint Multi-National Training Group – Ukraine headquarters in Starychi, Ukraine.
  • 24 November 2015 – Canadian soldiers begin their second training serial of small team training, including medical training, with a new Ukrainian infantry company at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre.
  • 28 November 2015 – Task Force Ukraine assists in the delivery of approximately $3 million dollars’ worth of Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) equipment to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Government of Canada.
  • 28 November 2015 –   Ukrainian soldiers graduate from the first serial of small team training at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre.  All graduating soldiers are presented Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) as part of this graduation.
  • 30 November 2015 – Canadian EOD experts begin training a Ukrainian instructor cadre course in Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) operations at the National Demining Centre in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • January 2016- Since the start of the mission in September 2015, more than 400 Ukrainian Armed Forces members have been trained in small team training, in addition to first aid training, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improved Explosive Device Disposal training, military police training and other training under the auspices of the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP).
  • January 2016 -  Approximately 200 Canadian Army personnel from the 2nd Canadian Division Québec, deployed to relieve their counterparts from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Petawawa, Ontario.
  • 17 January 2016 - Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Arsenault assumed command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) from Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Guiney during a ceremony which took place at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre in Starychi, Ukraine.
  • 12 February 2016 – Ukrainian soldiers from the 1st Battalion 24th Mechanized Infantry completed the 55 day course in Straychi, Ukraine which included tactical soldier training and combat first aid training.
  • 13 February 2016 – A third serial of the basic counter- improvised explosive device (C-IED) training course is completed in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 11 March 2016 -  Military Police complete another series of use of force and basic Investigation techniques near Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • 12 March 2016 – A Fourth serial of the basic counter- improvised explosive device (C-IED) training course is completed in Kamyanets-Podilsky.
  • 30 April 2016 - Ukrainian soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 25th Brigade Airmobile  graduate from the first serial of small team training at the International Peacekeeping and Security Centre.
  • June 2016 - Since the start of the mission in September 2015, more than 1300 Ukrainian Armed Forces candidates have participated in the individual training provided by the CAF.  The training is conducted in seven different lines of efforts that aim at developing specific areas such as : small team training, combat first aid, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Improved Explosive Device Disposal, military police techniques, Logistics modernization, Flight Safety training and other training under the auspices of the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP).
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