Canada is sending Ukraine 20,000 artillery shells: the kind of ammunition Ukrainian forces badly need as kyiv warns of being overrun by the Russian military.
Defense Minister Anita Anand announced that the federal government was spending nearly $100 million to purchase NATO-compliant 155-millimeter ammunition from the United States. She added that Ottawa is now accelerating shipping to Ukraine.
“Canada and Ukraine are more than close partners. We are family,” Ms. Anand said during a visit to a Ukrainian cultural center in Victoria, British Columbia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned the World Economic Forum in a virtual address this week that Russia’s military firepower vastly exceeds that of his own country by 20 to one. He said last week that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying every day as Moscow steps up its efforts to conquer more territory in eastern and southern Ukraine, where battles have repeatedly been described as duels. of artillery.
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Mr Zelensky pleaded for more weapons to allow Ukraine to “fight at great distance” from the Russians.
“We don’t have enough technical supplies because we are fighting against such a big country with a big army,” Zelensky said on Monday. “They have 20 times more equipment.”
Ms. Anand said the shells will be fired from guns, including the M777 howitzers that Canada and its allies have already donated to Ukraine; weapons that allow soldiers to accurately strike Russian targets up to 40 kilometers away. Canadian soldiers recently trained Ukrainians in the use of the big guns outside Ukraine, in a country that Ottawa will not identify for security reasons.
She said Western allies will not allow Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s military assault on Ukraine to succeed.
“kyiv remains free and the maple leaf once again flutters through the streets of the Ukrainian capital at our embassy,” Ms. Anand said. Canada’s diplomatic mission in the city reopened earlier this month.
Ottawa pledged $500 million last month in additional military aid this year for Ukraine, which also includes eight armored vehicles.
The artillery donation follows a slight drop in aid from Canada, which last announced military aid 16 days ago when it said it was sending aerial targeting equipment for drones Ukrainian military.
“By my calculations, there’s still well over $300 million left unspent,” said David Perry, president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, of Canada’s pledged amount.
He said Ukraine had made progress in its efforts to repel Russian forces over the past month, but the conflict “is by no means in the rearview mirror and they need more support quickly. to minimize the loss of life and the impact on their economic livelihoods”. ”
Perry said Ukraine appears to be using artillery shells at a rapid pace, noting Canada’s donation comes on top of more than 150,000 shells pledged by allies in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Russian forces were conducting an all-out assault to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin towns straddling a river in eastern Ukraine, a battle that could determine the success or failure of Moscow’s main campaign in the is. The easternmost part of Ukraine’s Donbass pocket, the town of Sievierodonetsk on the eastern bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk on the western bank, became the central battleground there, with Russian forces advancing from three directions to encircle them.
However, the Institute for War Studies in Washington’s assessment of the May 23 conflict by researcher Kateryna Stepanenko and her colleagues said that Ukraine’s counteroffensive northeast of Kharkiv, its second largest city, “continues to threaten Russian positions and forces Russia to withdraw”. units to continue their offensive operations in eastern Ukraine to strengthen their defensive position.
With reports from Reuters
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