Canada must stand on guard for Ukraine - New Canadian Media
Home to a large Ukrainian diaspora, Canada should send a peacekeeping mission to defend Ukraine against Russia's aggression.
A dated Independence Day military parade in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Credit: Official website of the President of Ukraine: President.gov.ua, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons).
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Canada must stand on guard for Ukraine

Canada should be sending a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine's frontlines to ensure that Russia receives a clear message, writes Olena Goncharova, the Edmonton-based correspondent for The Kyiv Independent.

Canada’s Federal government took a good first step last week by sending a $120-million loan to Ukraine as Russian forces amassed at the borders, but more leadership is desperately needed. Canada should consider sending a peacekeeping mission to the frontlines of Ukraine, sending a clear message from a strong NATO member supporting the country.

It took weeks of mounting pressure before Canada finally acted Friday and committed the funds to help Ukraine fight Russian attempts to destabilize it and its economy. This was the right thing to do, as Russia continues to bring weapons and soldiers to the border, signaling a potential military move by the Kremlin.

As home to the largest Ukrainian diaspora outside of Europe, Canada has a small but important role to play and a moral obligation to help its citizens of Ukrainian heritage. 

Although Russia denies any military action, the threat of further invasion is very real as it amasses more than 100,000 troops near the border. And there’s no sign of a breakthrough in diplomatic talks with the U.S., as the CBC reported on Jan. 21.

Lack of leadership

Canada has rightly come under pressure to follow Britain’s military lead as the U.K. promised to deliver a batch of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, while some other Western nations pledged their military support.

From a foreign policy perspective, Canada hasn’t demonstrated leadership on the international stage regarding Russia’s perceived aggression, and it seems it can’t go beyond being a support player on the matter. 

Russia’s military buildup on the border of Ukraine is posing a more serious threat than both the original invasion, which began with the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, and its ongoing support for pro-Russian militants in the eastern part of the country.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about Ukraine but the future of free democratic Europe that is at stake. The Western world once allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to ignore the rules of the international order. It can not allow Russia to do it again by bringing its tanks to the EU border. 

Even if Canada can’t provide the lethal weapons Ukraine is hoping for, it can raise its voice through lobbying efforts. Canada is a trusted ally that could use its influence with both NATO and non-NATO countries to put the issue of Russia on the international affairs agenda.

The Western alliance is divided over how to assist Ukraine and what to include in the economic sanctions if Russia attacks it again. This could be up to Canada to facilitate and implement a long-term solution to the problem of despotic authoritarian Russia.

Sharing intelligence

Some members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community believe Canada could share intelligence from satellites on the movement of Russian troops and possibly provide other defensive equipment that could be sent to Ukrainian forces on short notice without requiring too much additional training.

Those might have been good options a few months ago, but now it’s time to react fast.

Increasing a peacekeeping presence on Ukraine’s soil might be the right solution. Canada might be small in terms of military power, but it has a long history of supporting Kyiv both financially and militarily (via Operation UNIFIER, which comes to an end in March). 

There are close to 200 Canadian Armed Forces members currently on the ground in Ukraine. Reinforcing the current military personnel by deploying a dedicated peacekeeping mission could send a clear message to Russia: that Canada will not allow Putin to recreate the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. 

Ukraine is not the only Canadian ally under threat of Russian aggression.

Recently, Mali made headlines following the news of alleged Russian mercenaries’ deployment to the struggling western African nation Canada has been supporting for years.

And if Canada now beefs up its military presence in Ukraine, it might be seen as giving it preferential treatment and find opposition within and outside the country.

On the other hand, Canada could also stretch its forces so far as it is not a major military power and has relatively small and lightly-funded armed forces.

Still, geopolitically, few countries have been as supportive of an independent and sovereign Ukraine as Canada currently is.

Now, Canada has a chance to show Russia that Ukraine is not a soft target.

Having Canadian peacekeepers on the Ukrainian border might serve as a last warning for Putin of severe NATO consequences — after all, the Russian President is not going to risk an all-out conflict with NATO, which he would most likely lose.


This commentary was written as part of the ‘NCM – Village Media Advanced Training and Mentorship for Immigrant Journalists’ special project.

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About the author

Olena Goncharova is a development manager and Canadian correspondent for The Kyiv Independent, a new Ukrainian media in the English language that was launched by an experienced 25-member team of former editors and journalists of the Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s oldest English-language media. Olena first joined the Kyiv Post as a staff writer in January 2012 and became the newspaper’s Canadian correspondent in June 2018. She is based in Edmonton, Alberta. Olena has a master’s degree in publishing and editing from the Institute of Journalism in Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. She was a 2016 Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellow who worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for six months. The program is administered by the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia.

9 Comments

  1. A well-reasoned and well-thought out argument. Canada has long billed itself as a strong ally of Ukraine, but it’s time to step up with more than words and token economic aid packages.

    A key difference between Russia and Ukraine is that Russia stands alone. Beyond perhaps Belarus, none of her allies have any interest at all in this fight. Ukraine can look to NATO and the EU as partners with shared vested interests. Only together and with a united front will Putin be forced to blink.

  2. Putin is going to take out the NPP of Ukraine !

    All the Fuel is from Russia,and Putin will be a fool, if he allows the U-235 ,to be used for further enrichment – and to be launched on Russia ! RUSSIAN URANIUM ON RUSSIANS ?

    Basically,the Russians will remove every gram of U-235 and Pu, from the plant – which means the fuel rods and the SNF – and to either destroy or contaminate the tailing ponds,so that the DU and SNF,cannot be salvaged !

    The real target is the Commercial reactors !

    Putin is going to take out the UKRANIAN NPP, on the pretext of accidental bombing, and a terror threat !

    With 100,000 refugees in Moldova and Poland,any TERROR Group,can sneak into UKR.They could be from anywhere – Chechens ….

    Hence,Putin has the EXCUSE to seize the Nuclear assets,and then strip them off the Fuel – Fuel Rods,SNF and Tailings

    Ultimately,the NPP will be used by UKR leaders,to make Nukes,and use them as a defense !

    Using Russian Reactors and fuel,to Nuke Russia – ain’t something,that Putin will not allow !

    UKR leaders have said that they want a Nuke

    Half of UKR power comes from Nuke Power – and the fuel is almost entirely Russian !

    PUTIN WILL TAKE BACK ALL THE ENRICHED URANIUM FUEL RODS and the SNF !

    He will ensure that no U235 or PU, can be salvaged from the SNF ,and no PU is irradiated in the Power plants.

    BUT THEN AFTER HE EXITS UKRAINE – THE US WILL SUPPLY THE FUEL ! WHICH MEANS THAT UKR WILL HAVE U235,AND WILL GENERATE PU – AND SO,CAN START ENRICHMENT FACILITIES,TO HIT WEAPONS GRADE URANIUM – U-235

    SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION ?

    THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR PUTIN – IS TO TAKE OUT ALL THE NUKE POWER PLANTS – ID.EST., TAKE THE FUEL ,AND CRIPPLE THE NPP !

    WHICH IS Y,PUTIN RUSHED IN,AFTER THE NUKE DESIRES, OF THE UKRANIAN LEADER !

    THE 1ST TAKE OUT WAS CHERNOBYL – WHEREIN THE RUSSIANS TOOK HOSTAGES !

    The hostages are to secure the plant blueprint,storage sites and controls,and will be let off – after the plant is mapped !

    Russians are taking care of Cherno !

    That is Y the Russians,did not TRIP the Grid !

    The PWR use Grid power, to Cool the reactor and the ponds.If there is no power – then the DG sets will run out of diesel !

    UKR buys power from Belarus !

    One call from Vlad – and Belarus will cut the power !

    No need to do a cyber hack,or bomb the grid ! dindooohindoo

  3. Zelinsky has to note that the Z on the Russian armor is named after HIM !

    It is time to prepare , for URBAN WAR , IN KIEV !

    It is time to think of ways,to CHOKE THE SUPPLY CHAIN,of the Putin sambos !

    WHAT WILL ZELINSKY DO WITH THE AIRPORTS, OIL DUMPS IN KIEV ? PUTIN WILL USE THE FUEL DUMPS TO STOCK UP ! HE WILL USE THE AIRPORTS TO AIRLIFT TROOPS AND FOOD !

    Is it time to destroy the airport and fuel dumps and bridges ?

    KIEV WILL FALL – it is just a question of time ! It is time to prepare for urban war – IEDs and Street fighting !

    Rising Oil and Wheat and Food and Edible Oil

    This is the matrix,of Putin !

    As only Putin, can solve it !

    There will be Tahrir’s,in every nation of GCC and North Africa !

    That is time for a war,in the Persian Gulf – it could be Arabs + Persians Vs Israel.

    When there are riots,on the Arab street – war is the solution – and the prime target, is Israel

    Russian are already in Syria and Tartous !

    PUTIN HOLDS ALL THE CARDS ! dindooohindoo

  4. The EU is sending military aid to UKR

    From where it will enter UKR ?

    Who is sending the aid ?

    Germany ! But is it NOT part of NATO ?

    And from where will it enter UKR ? The Southern ports are all under Putin.So they will come from Poland or Estonia – BUT THESE ARE PART OF NATO !

    Now,when the aid comes it Russian Jets bomb them or Drones shoot the convoys or the convoys are chased back into Poland and bombed in Poland – then ……………

    Art 5 !

    These drones flying in UKR airspace and bombing Russian APC/Tanks – are they UKR or …………………. NATO ?

    Between Poland and Estonia – which NATO nation,will Putin choose 1st ?

    Thus the Putin Nuclear Command is activated ! dindooohindoo

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