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Canada-Ukraine security agreement could be finalized in weeks, Canadian FM says

by Abbey Fenbert February 5, 2024 1:30 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky met Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly during her official visit to Kyiv on Feb. 2. (Volodymyr Zelensky/X)
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Canada and Ukraine are in the final stages of negotiating a bilateral security agreement and could reach a deal within weeks, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told CBC News on Feb. 4.

Joly arrived in Kyiv on Feb. 2, with plans to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to advance negotiations on a bilateral security agreement between Canada and Ukraine under the Group of Seven (G7) declaration.

Canada has already sent a draft proposal of security assurances to Kyiv. Joly said the agreement would be "transformational" for Ukraine.

"I'm here to push to get it to the finish line, I think we can conclude it in the coming weeks," Joly said.

Germany and France are also reportedly weeks away from finalizing their own bilateral security agreements with Ukraine.  The U.K. finalized such a deal during U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's visit to Kyiv on Jan. 12.

Canada's language around the agreement emphasizes security "assurances" over "guarantees." Security "guarantees" imply a greater obligation to defend Ukraine with force.

"We know that even one day when the war ends, and until Ukraine is in NATO, we need to make sure that Ukraine is strong and has enough of a security and a deterrence force to make sure that it is able to deter Russia from rearming and re-invading," Joly said.

"Because we know that Russia will still be a very dangerous neighbor."

Canada is one of Ukraine’s major supporters and provided $1.8 billion to Ukraine’s state budget in 2023. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ottawa has given nearly $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine, while combined aid covering humanitarian and financial support, exceeds $7.5 billion.

Ukrainians criticize historic UK security agreement as weak, but encouraging
A new bilateral security agreement between Kyiv and London is getting mixed grades in Ukraine. Signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Jan. 12, the 16-page document spells out both countries’ intentions to work together on strengthening Ukraine’s military, defe…
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