These images show Canadian military instructors arriving in the UK to help train Ukrainian troops to fight the Russians.
The training contingent from the 3rd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry can be seen in the images moments after landing in the town of Edmonton, in north London, in the UK, on Friday, 12th August.
The Canadian Armed Forces said in a statement obtained on Monday, 15th August: “The training contingent from the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry arrived in the UK last Friday night to participate in Operation UNIFIER (UK).
“Canada’s contribution to the training of Security Forces of Ukraine aims to promote peace and security in Ukraine through military capability and capacity building, professionalisation and materiel donation.”
And the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a statement obtained on Tuesday, 16th August (in English): “The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Anita Anand, announced August 4th that Canada has authorized the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to train new recruits from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as they seek to increase the size of their ground forces in the face of Russia’s ongoing unprovoked, unjustifiable, and illegal invasion.
“Under Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training and capacity building mission in Ukraine, the CAF will deploy up to 225 personnel to the United Kingdom, the majority of whom will work as trainers, supported by a command and control element, for an initial deployment of approximately four months.
“The first Canadian-led courses will take place at a military base located in South East England, and will teach a flexible curriculum focused on individual skills required for frontline combat, including weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict.
“Operation UNIFIER was launched in 2015 at the request of the Ukrainian government, and early this year, was expanded and extended until March 2025.
“Aspects of the mission were temporarily paused following the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with a commitment to resume training when and where conditions permitted.
“Since February 2022, Canada has committed or delivered $626 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including M777 howitzer artillery guns with replacement barrels and compatible ammunition, as well as specialized drone cameras and Armoured Combat Support Vehicles, and associated training.”
General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff, is quoted in the statement as saying: “Despite the heinous Russian invasion of Ukraine, Operation UNIFIER has continued, and this new aspect is only the latest in a series of activities by Canada that has trained well over 33,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since 2015. When we paused training in Ukraine this past winter, we said clearly that we would resume the training whenever and wherever the opportunity arose.”
And the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, was quoted as saying: “We made good on the promise providing training on Canadian donated artillery and munitions in third nations, which continues. By working with the United Kingdom, we will continue to make good on that promise. Canada salutes the courage and bravery of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and we will continue to help empower them with the skills that they need to defend their nation’s freedom and independence.”
The statement continued: “Canada is known for the quality of training it provides to other nations. This training, as we have seen, results in strategic effect of great value. From recent engagements such as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, it is abundantly clear that training is a critical component to sustaining Ukraine’s capacity to defend itself in the short to long term. Building on the Canadian Armed Forces’ already close relationship with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Canada is proud to work alongside like-minded nations such as the United Kingdom to further support their training needs.”
And UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP is quoted as saying: “I am delighted that the Canadian Armed Forces will be joining the growing international effort to support the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the U.K. Canada’s expertise will provide a further boost to the programme and ensure that the Ukrainian men and women, coming to the U.K. to train to defend their country, will get a wide pool of experience and skills from both U.K. forces and our international partners.”
The Canadian Army previously said on the evening of Friday, 12th August: “Today, approximately 90 soldiers mainly from 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, departed Edmonton for the United Kingdom, where they will deliver combat training to Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation UNIFIER.
“This training will include weapons handling, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and the Law of Armed Conflict, and will aim to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend their homeland against Russia’s ongoing and illegal invasion.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February in what the Kremlin is still calling a “special military operation”. Today marks the 174th day of the war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that between 24th February and 16th August, Russia had lost about 43,900 personnel, 1,880 tanks, 4,152 armoured combat vehicles, 989 artillery units, 263 multiple launch rocket systems, 136 air defence systems, 233 warplanes, 196 helicopters, 790 drones, 190 cruise missiles, 15 warships, 3,049 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 92 units of special equipment.
Russia has claimed that its casualties have been much lower, but provides infrequent updates on its latest figures. The Pentagon said last week that Russia had suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 casualties – deaths and injuries – since the beginning of its invasion.
Both Ukraine and Russia have reported further shelling near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest – on Monday. Both sides have blamed each other. A Russian-installed regional official claimed that US-made M777 howitzer heavy artillery strikes had hit near the nuclear power plant but Ukraine said Russian forces had shelled the area to make it look like Ukraine was attacking it.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged world leaders not to “lose to terrorism” or to “give in to nuclear blackmail”. He added: “If now the world does not show strength and decisiveness to defend one nuclear power station, it will mean that the world has lost.” He also said: “If Russia’s actions cause a catastrophe, the consequences may also hit those who remain silent so far.”
The Minister of Defence of Russia, Sergei Shoigu, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, discussed the plant’s security situation by telephone on Monday, the Russian Defence Ministry has said.
Ukrainian artillery has reportedly hit the Wagner paramilitary group of mercenaries’ headquarters in eastern Ukraine. Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai has said that the location of the Russian mercenary group’s headquarters was revealed by a Russian journalist, pro-Kremlin Sergei Sreda, who shared a photograph on Telegram of the base apparently showing its address.
Five men, including three from the UK, one from Sweden and one from Croatia have denied being mercenaries fighting with Ukrainian forces against Russia, in a Russian proxy court. Britons John Harding, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, Swedish citizen Mathias Gustafsson and Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg appeared before a court – which is not internationally recognised – in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic. Harding, Gustafsson and Prebeg could face death sentences, Russian media have claimed.
The UK military is training 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers to handle weapons, to carry out first aid on the battlefield and to conduct urban warfare, with the goal of turning fresh recruits in soldiers ready for the front in weeks. New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Finland and Sweden have also sent military trainers to Britain.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed in a speech at an arms show that Russian weapons are years ahead of its rivals and that the country is prepared to provide its allies with advanced weaponry and work together to develop military technology.
Putin said that his country believes strongly in its ties to countries in South America, Asia and Africa and “is ready to offer our partners and allies the most modern types of weapons, from small arms to armoured vehicles and artillery, combat aircraft and drones”.
Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have both said since the beginning of the invasion that Russia desired to work with China, India and Iran, among other countries, to form a new international order that is no longer dominated by the United States.