Helping Ukraine’s military more than just providing weapons, building ammo factory, says Canada’s Defence Minister

A Ukrainian serviceman prepares ammunition for the fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Avdiivka, Donetsk region on March 30, 2017 Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images

Stepan Poltorak, the Ukrainian Defence Minister, has told journalists in that country that he had discussions with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to become involved in building a Ukrainian ammunition plant.

“It was very important to create joint production of equipment and equipment both in Canada and in Ukraine,” Poltorak explained. “We would like Canada to join the construction of an ammunition plant in Ukraine. And we discussed this issue with our colleague.”

Sajjan was asked Thursday about the ammunition facility as well as providing Ukraine with lethal aid.
Sajjan told journalists that there is still much work to be done before any such proposals can be looked at. A Defence Cooperation Agreement between the two nations has been signed.

Harjit Singh Sajjan, Canadian Minister of National Defence.

“We had actually a very good discussion on this, on this topic and actually about equipment in general,” he explained when asked about lethal aid. This is one of the reasons it was very important for us to sign the Defence Cooperation Agreement and move forward with the other steps, so that Ukraine can have a greater possibility in terms of their procurement as well.”

“Now when it comes to weapons systems and lethality, it can’t be looked at in that manner. We have to look at it in terms of any type of system that you provide, you have to look at what type of capacity is needed to be able to use it as well. So, we’re looking at a much more thorough plan of helping the Ukrainian armed forces to be able to modernize with their command and control structure, their sustainment system as well. So, our discussion is not just strictly about a shopping list of systems. It’s about building the capacity.”

Sajjan was asked about the ammunition plant but fell back to similar comments about capacity building for Ukraine.

“It’s not a shopping list,” Sajjan responded. “This is about building the capacity. So, we had some very detailed discussions on the way forward. This is about increasing the effectiveness of the Ukrainian armed forces, which is happening, and then actually providing the necessary equipment for them to sustain that as well.”

 

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