One of Ukraine’s most generous allies in Canada. Canadian aid ranks fourth among donor nations, with an offer of more than $5 billion made since the beginning of the Russian offensive almost a year ago. Although most of these monies were first allocated as loans, as the conflict wore on, this contribution quickly became military. Once frowned upon, sending terminal equipment is now a weapon in the Western armoury used in Ukraine.
Since January 24, 2022, when NATO started to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe, the nation has received support totalling $5.2 billion, according to a compilation of the Duty that combines information from the Ministries of Global Affairs, Finance, and Defense with the Kiel Institute’s Ukraine Support Tracker.
Dominique Arel, who holds the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Ottawa, notes that half of this aid is financial “sets Canada apart from other countries.” 43% of the budget is allocated to military aid, and 7% to humanitarian relief.
Five waves of immigration from Ukraine have shaped Canada’s long-standing relations with that country. Canada has the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora after Russia (1.36 million people). In the past year, more than 150,000 refugees have arrived.
The first banknotes were printed in Canada, the first Western nation to recognize Ukraine’s independence.
According to retired Lieutenant-Colonel Rémi Landry, “somewhat explains our urge to provide everything we have the means to give them instinctively.”
Professor Arel observes that historical support also crosses political boundaries. “Before the invasion, there was no disagreement among the federal parties about the Ukrainian issue, such as whether we should engage in further Russian mediation. As in numerous European nations, no political groups supported Russia.
More hostile military assistance
Canada used its existing equipment stores and new orders to restock the Ukrainian army and provide it with the tools it needed to combat the Russian invaders. The German think tank Kiel Institute calculated the worth of each of these contributions at $2.26 billion. According to Duty’s analysis, half of this sum, or $1.02 billion, is new purchases.
According to the study of Lieutenant-Colonel Landry, an associate professor of political science at the Université of Sherbrooke, this is “Canada’s most significant military contribution abroad.”
Of the new acquisitions, $522 million came from abroad, and $500 million was ordered from Canadian vendors.
While Canada and its allies first gave Ukraine primarily non-lethal aid (winter supplies, helmets, satellite imaging, communications equipment, food rations, and meals), this assistance swiftly changed with the delivery of heavier weaponry starting in April (in particular anti-tank weapons and howitzers).
By deciding to supply tanks to the Ukrainian army last month, Ottawa and its NATO allies took a further step towards preparing for a new Russian onslaught. According to professor Arel, “This aid is constantly rising because it follows the performance curve of the Ukrainian army, which has demonstrated that it is capable of defending itself and employing the weapons that are provided to it.
Lieutenant-Colonel Landry claimed that “we responded swiftly.” He observes that Canada “would find it difficult to go beyond what it is doing now without constraining its capabilities.”
He said that the magnitude of the crimes committed against the Ukrainian populace could have been avoided with a minor acceleration of Western aid. “The level of destruction probably wouldn’t be as great if we had done this from the beginning.
Loans worth billions
Experts claim that Canada performs well in terms of financial aid. From February through December 2022, the loans were dispersed. Dominique Arel estimates that Ukraine could have lost up to 30% of its GDP in a year. The professor concludes that despite the destruction of its businesses, this assistance enables Ukraine to “finish its budget at the end, at least in a condition of great urgency.”
Ottawa has recouped financial assistance given to Ukraine after the takeover of Crimea in 2014. According to Rémi Landry, the government may waive interest or a portion of the loans this time.
Throughout the past year, Canada has also imposed economic penalties on over 1,600 individuals and organizations linked to Vladimir Putin’s government. Government officials claimed that although it took some time for the effects of the sanctions to be felt in Russia, nuanced Lieutenant-Colonel Landry.
With contributions close to $68 billion, the United States is near the top of Ukraine’s most crucial allies regarding both military hardware and financial and humanitarian aid. At 10 billion each, the United Kingdom and Germany are second and third, respectively, still well behind Canada.
According to the Ukraine Support Tracker, even when considering aid as a percentage of GDP, Canada comes out on top, ranking eighth this time, just ahead of the United States. The neighbours occupy the top of this table to the east. “It’s easy to understand the hazard. Because many of them have personally experienced Russian aggression, they have a keen awareness of its danger “Professor Arel recalls.
The military must avoid humanitarian.
The admission of thousands of refugees and the development of a special immigration visa that permits Ukrainian nationals to come and study or work in Canada for three years are added to the $369 million in humanitarian aid.
Dominique Arel adds that even if this humanitarian aid is crucial, unlike military aid, it does not stop the invasion and devastation of cities.
Recalling that the last year has “highlighted certain deficiencies in Canadian supplies,” Lieutenant-Colonel Landry believes that the Canadian side’s supply of weapons may soon have reached its limit. The former serviceman worries that if the Canadian army were called upon to participate in another foreign conflict, it would confront difficulties due to years of underinvestment in supplies and “penniless savings.”
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