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Minister: Canada open to sending some soldiers to Ukraine in 'non-combat role'

by Kateryna Denisova March 1, 2024 3:00 PM 2 min read
Bill Blair, Canada's then public safety and emergency preparedness minister, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, March 16, 2020. (David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ottawa is ready to send a limited number of military personnel to Ukraine, but only to train Ukrainian soldiers and not for participation in hostilities, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair said in an interview with Toronto Star, published on Feb. 29.

Following the Feb. 26 summit of European leaders in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that sending Western troops on the ground in Ukraine can not be "ruled out" in the future, adding that there was no consensus on such a move.

According to Blair, Canada is open to sending a certain number of its soldiers in "a clear, non-combat role" to Ukraine to train the Ukrainian soldiers, provided that operations will take place far from the front line.

Canada is one of six NATO countries that have signed agreements on security assistance with Ukraine, which includes "comprehensive support" for Ukraine over the next 10 years.

After Macron's statement, the Canadian defense minister, along with leaders of Germany, the U.K., and other European NATO member states, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, ruled out sending Western troops to Ukraine.

Later, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas noted that European leaders should not exclude this possibility, saying this could be "a signal to Russia."

During a two-hour State of the Nation address on Feb. 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened "tragic consequences" if NATO troops were sent to Ukraine, claiming the West's support for Kyiv "risks a conflict using nuclear weapons."

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