Artillery vehicle

Status of Canadian agreement to purchase artillery shells for Ukraine unclear

Talks are underway to make a purchase from South Korea, but Defense Minister Anita Anand declined to say whether it would go ahead

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Canada is in talks with arms companies to secure additional equipment for Ukraine, but it is unclear whether a critical deal to purchase 100,000 artillery rounds for that country will proceed .

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Canadian officials have been talking with their South Korean counterparts to acquire the 155 millimeter artillery ammunition, this newspaper reported in late May. Canada would then supply those 100,000 rounds to Ukraine, which has been warning for a month that it has run out of artillery shells.

The Liberal government has already supplied Ukraine with Canadian Forces M777 artillery guns that can use 155mm ammunition.

Defense Minister Anita Anand said Thursday that Canada was talking to a number of defense companies about equipment for Ukraine. This nation is fighting a Russian invasion that began on February 24.

But Anand declined to say whether the Canadian government would actually pursue the South Korean deal, which could cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. “It would be unwise of me to announce a transaction before it is finalized,” she noted. “Its not my style.”

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Ukrainian government officials say a continuous supply of artillery shells is essential to their war effort. “It’s an artillery war now,” Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, told the Guardian newspaper on June 10. “And we lose in terms of artillery.”

Russia has large stocks of artillery and ammunition for these weapons. Ukraine fires between 5,000 and 6,000 artillery shells a day at Russian positions, according to its military officials.

But Ukrainian officials and defense analysts estimate that Russia fires around 20,000 artillery shells a day. Some Ukrainian government officials claim that this figure is 60,000 rounds, but these figures cannot be confirmed.

Canadian taxpayers have already funded the donation of arms and other military equipment worth $626 million to Ukraine. This includes anti-tank systems, .50 caliber sniper rifles fitted with silencers, 60 millimeter mortars, grenade launchers, pistols, C6 and C9 machine guns, thermal imaging binoculars, cameras, scopes and medical supplies.

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In addition, drone cameras were also sent.

Canada also financed the purchase of 20,000 artillery cartridges from the United States to donate to the Ukrainian army. This deal cost $98 million.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on June 30 that Canada would also provide Ukraine with 39 light armored vehicles. These vehicles, built by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, were originally intended for the Canadian Army. But instead they will be diverted to Ukraine.

These vehicles should arrive in Europe in the coming weeks.

Anand also announced Thursday that the Canadian military would resume training Ukrainian soldiers. Up to 225 personnel, most from 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry based in Edmonton, Alberta, will be sent to the United Kingdom to train Ukrainian military recruits there. The deployment will initially last about four months, according to Canadian defense officials. Training is due to start on August 25 at a location in south-east England.

Anand could not say how many Ukrainian soldiers should be trained.

Canada had previously trained more than 33,000 Ukrainian military personnel under a program launched in 2015. That training was suspended in February just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

NATO countries have sent large quantities of weapons to Ukraine since the February 24 invasion. Some NATO officials view the war as an opportunity to either force regime change in Russia or seriously weaken that country militarily.

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